Simon Katu, Head, Gombe Office Operations, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has tasked journalists to be thorough in handling disaster management reportage.
Katu, who made the call in Bauchi on Thursday during a capacity building programme for journalists, said the training was to enhance their knowledge in reporting disasters, disaster management, mitigation and preparedness.
The NEMA official said that the programme tagged, “Media and Disaster Management, Roles and Responsibilities’’, was crucial because of the importance of communication and the role of the media in disaster risk management.
He said that the news media were not only communication channels, but also behavioural change agents stressing that “the media can trigger behavioural change in the field of disaster management.’’
“The media is an integral part of our stakeholder base; they can influence policy-making, legislation and other activities that will help to reduce emergencies and disasters or influence our response to them.
“It serves the society better to strengthen the capacity of the media to play their roles as agents of change and cornerstone institution for development,’’ he added.
Katu stated that the essence of disaster management was to protect the lives and property of the people as well as the environment they live in.
“There is, therefore, a clear need for partnership between NEMA and the media as relevant stakeholders in disaster management,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Chairman, Bauchi State Council of the NUJ, Malam Umar Said, commended NEMA for organising the workshop which he described as timely and well-intended.
“The training will strengthen the technical capacities of journalists; it will also expand their institutional and individual knowledge-base in disaster risk management,’’ he said.
Umar urged participants to take the training seriously and adopt the knowledge acquired for effective delivery of service as purveyors of information.