UN engages 45 journalists in dialogue on best reporting on North East situation
The United Nations System in Nigeria has engaged 45 journalists from across the country in a media dialogue on best ways to report the humanitarian crises and response in the North East.
The two-day joint humanitarian media dialogue began on Wednesday in Kano and was organized by the UN system in collaboration with the International Non-Governmental Organization partners and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Samantha Newport, the Head of Communications, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Nigeria, said the media dialogue is aimed at strengthening the relationship with journalists for accurate reportage.
Newport said: “We are here in Kano with over 45 representatives of the national media for a media dialogue for the United Nations and INGOs partners.
“It is to provide information to the national media on the humanitarian crises and the response in the North East of Nigeria.
“The aim is also for the UN and NGO partners to hear the questions from journalists and to understand the concerns that they have so that we can communicate better.
“We really want to strengthen our relationship with the national media so that we give them all the information that is important because communicating with Nigerians, the government and people of Nigeria is pivotal.
“If we don’t communicate with the people of Nigeria what the international community is trying to do, then we are failing in a very important part of our jobs.
“It is really the goal of this media dialogue that we all come out better informed about what everybody is seeking to achieve.”
Newport said the humanitarian crisis in the North East remained one of the most severe in the world.
She said the UN was on ground to boost the efforts of the government in the areas of humanitarian response of Nigeria especially as the life saving needs in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States remained severe.
She said on that note, in 2018, the UN system in Nigeria would continue providing life saving humanitarian assistance to millions of people.
According to her, in 2017 the UN provided life saving assistance to almost six million people, hence the need to continue providing food, health, water, sanitation and other support that would help people kick start their lives again.
Newport said there was a significant scale up in humanitarian response by UN agencies and NGOs, its partners, in 2017, which would be sustained in 2018.
Also speaking, Hanson Tamfu, External Relations Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Nigeria, said the media dialogue aimed to better educate journalists on the humanitarian situation and responses in the North East.
Tamfu said the reporting in the North East by the Nigerian media has not been unanimous and so the media dialogue would create the platform to get a lot of things clear to journalists for accurate and unified reports.
Tamfu lauded Nigerian journalists for the passion in reporting and informing the Nigerian populace on the North East situation.
He said a proposal has been made for the maiden media dialogue to be followed by subsequent ones so that the media and all humanitarian actors would come together to raise questions and concerns on the interventions in the region.
In his remarks, Olumide Osanyipeju, Assistant Director, Child Right Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, said the media dialogue was apt.
Osanyipeju said the reports of journalists have a great influence on the society and could influence people to supporting the humanitarian course of the government, the UN and other development partners.
He urged journalists to use their media to educate the populace on the dangers of crisis in Nigeria so that the youths would avoid been used as instruments in the hands of insurgents and other armed groups.