The Federal Government on Thursday reiterated its call for a media blackout on terrorists and terror attacks in furtherance of the counter-insurgency campaign against Boko Haram.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, made the call in Abuja at the public presentation of a book titled: “What they don’t teach you in broadcasting,” written by Orji Ogbonaya Orji, a veteran broadcaster.
Maku said terrorists had taken advantage of the existing free media space in the country to propagate their ideology, noting that media reports should seek to protect and unite citizens against the antics of the insurgents.
He said: “I am not saying that you shouldn’t report when there are say terrorists’ attacks on innocent citizens but we must report from the point of view of arousing society to reject their message, to unite society against what they are doing.
“I am still calling on all of us to be able define the thin line that exists between the urge to report and the need to protect.
“We need to really come to a definition of what the responsibility of the media should be to organisations and persons whose major objective is to destroy society, to incite hatred among normal people.
“I have said it that if we black out terrorism for a period, I am sure it will go down.”
The minister said terrorism and related activities could only be tackled effectively if all segments of society, particularly the media, joined forces against it.
Maku urged veteran journalists in the country to articulate their thoughts and experiences in a book form to help educate the younger generation of professionals in a bid to improve professionalism in Nigeria.
According to him, journalism in Nigeria has come under serious threat from trends in the society, including innovations in ICT.
He noted that only constant training could insulate the media from such threats.
Maku said: “We are here to celebrate with a colleague – a trusted colleague, a competent colleague, an experienced colleague – that has made it in this profession.
“And he’s today giving us a fresh book that is a reminder that all of us, who are in this profession, the need to recollect our views, our thoughts, so that the younger people who are coming on can benefit from our own insights and experiences in the profession.
“Our country is in need of training and retraining on the job.
“Most of the time, you find that the standards are not as they used to be.
“They are falling because there are issues other than what you learnt in school that are very important to success.”
Maku commended the author for his insight and thoughts reflected in the book and recommended the book for use by both practicing and trainee journalists.
Earlier, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, commended the author for his thoughts and experiences as expressed in the book.
Ihedioha recommended the book for use by trainee and practicing journalists, media organisations and public libraries in the country.
The Directors-General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Mallam Ladan Salihu, and the Voice of Nigeria, Alhaji Abubakar Jijiwa, were among dignitaries that graced the event.