‘Media organisations in Nigeria allow distorted information on national security to feature in reportage’

COMMUNIQUE OF THE TWO-DAY THIRD ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNICATION SCHOLARS & PROFESSIONALS OF NIGERIA (ACSPN) HELD AT IMMACULATE SUITES HOTEL AND APARTMENTS, ABUJA, NIGERIA FROM WEDNESDAY AUGUST 31-THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

PREAMBLE

The Association of Communication Scholars & Professionals (ACSPN) held its 3rd Annual Conference with the theme: “Strategic Communication, National Security and Peace Building in Nigeria” at Immaculate Suites Hotel and Apartments, Abuja from Wednesday, August 31 to Thursday, September 1, 2016.

The conference was well attended by academics, professionals, students, governmental organizations, and the media. The deeply reflective key note presentation dwelt on the strains between the Fulani nomads and farmers, in view of the historicity and political dimension of the issues.

The illuminating special panel session focused on “Managing Security in a Digital Age and was preceded by an insightful lead paper on “Strategic Communication for National Peace”.

The Association launched the first in its book series titled: Taking Stock: Nigerian Media and National Challenges which, among others, distils a cross-fertilization of issues on media practices, communicating conflict and inspiring sustainable environmental habits.

A special session to empower intending/aspiring authors with the requisite knowledge to produce and publish internationally accepted research papers and books was one of the major highlights. In this special session, key pitfalls in the area of communicating quality research were brilliantly articulated while the flow and process of developing a quality publication was highlighted by a cross-section of scholars and professionals representing different zones of the country.

At the end of this two-day conference and after extensive deliberation, participants made the following observations and recommendations that would ensure effective, efficient and strategic use of communication by citizens, government agencies, media organisations and corporate bodies in improving national security and peace building in Nigeria.

OBSERVATIONS

  1. Media organisations in Nigeria allow distorted information on national security to feature in reportage.
  2. The narratives on Fulani herdspersons have been misconstrued in the Nigeria media.
  3. Some journalists, government officials and professionals alike underestimate the consequences of misconstrued communication.
  4. Media practitioners have valuable information that has thus far not been properly managed in the interest of the country.
  5. The potentials of social media are yet to be fully harnessed for engendering national security.
  6. There is need for regular update of the training curriculum in our institutions in order to meet current realities.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Communication Scholars and professionals should turn out well researched, empirical papers that can provide practical solutions to Nigeria’s security challenges.
  2. ACSPN should be involved in the training of journalists in conflict sensitive reporting. To get this done, collaboration is encouraged between the academia and professionals to promote knowledge and strengthen practice. The curricula for communication studies in higher institutions should keep pace with developments in the industry.
  3. There is urgent need for a Comprehensive Unified Communication Policy on National Security. This will require all stakeholders to work together to produce a comprehensive and representative document.
  4. Scholars and professionals are strongly encouraged to accept responsibilities and discharge them excellently.
  5. Social media should be strategically deployed by all stakeholders for improving National Security.
  6. Media organisations and government officials should review the manner in which information is presented to the populace.
  7. Entertainment should be used to communicate issues such as insecurity and peace. There is the need to produce films and feature programmes that will demystify security issues such as Boko Haram and pastoralism.
  8. Government should take seriously the communication component in fashioning out its policies on governance.

Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie

General Secretary

September 1, 2016

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