The Chairman/Publisher, Blueprint Newspapers Limited, Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi, has called for increased synergy and partnership between media and government in tackling security challenges in the country.
He spoke during the press week of the Niger State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists NUJ on Saturday, in Minna, the state capital.
As guest speaker at the event, he spoke on the theme: Media and Insecurity in Nigeria: Niger State Perspective, harped on the role of media in supporting the government to end insecurity in the country. He noted that the media, “has critical roles to play in the struggle to tame the monstrosity that is giving everyone, including the low and mighty in the society sleepless nights”.
Represented by former Chief Secretary to Niger State Governor and Defence and Security Editor, Blueprint Newspapers, Jibrin Baba Ndace, the publisher added that, “In confronting the escalating challenges of insecurity in the country, the media, government, and security agencies at all levels including the citizens, must be on the same page.
He specifically called on journalists reporting security matters to be cautious, ethical and principled in their reportage, to avoid over-hyping certain issues that can dampen the efforts of the security agencies thereby threatening national security.
“Within their pervasive powers secured by relative freedom, what journalists and their institutions publish or broadcast represent potent sources of perception and influence. Beyond their normative, traditional roles of information, education, enlightenment or entertainment, the media’s duly reserved constitutional role as society’s watchdog is largely complemented by their unique powers to aggregate the opinion of citizens and set agenda for those who govern over their affairs. Such affairs, particularly the very serious business of securing lives and property, permit the media role to include mediating consensus over citizen action to complement government’s responsibility, while delivering on such mandate, responsibly.”
Alhaji Malagi further stated: “The media and the general public must rise to the challenge of combating rising insecurity in the nation by embarking on communication–based approaches that would effectively stigmatize such acts in the society.”
He urged journalists and other media workers to engage in responsible and civic journalism through the mass media as a way of complementing media workers’ role in exposing and combating insecurity in the nation.
Idris who is the General Secretary, Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, recommended that: the capacity for the media to deliver more effectively can be enhanced through consistent training and increased professionalism; all stakeholders in the insecurity mix must recognize the pivotal role of the media as a partner in the overall search for solutions to the problem. This will require enabling the benefit of more access to vital information by the media; media establishments, practitioners, government and other stakeholders. We must recognize the propriety of the national interest consensus against other interests; in the light of identified limitations of legal guarantees for media roles, there is a need to ensure strengthening of the existing laws to support better service compact by the media; and governments at all levels will require the enabling convergence with the media to push back “alternative facts” and deepen the shared stakes of upholding national integrity and preserving the overall national interest, particularly as it concerns the threat of insecurity.
Speaking on the need for media practitioners to expand the space for robust national discourse and ensure adequate professional ethics are followed in the reportage especially as it relates to national security, Idris who is a fellow of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, stated thus: “even though I am a core Public Relations Practitioner, when I ventured into publishing, first as the publisher of The Market Magazine, the first Business and Economy Magazine in Nigeria, my vision and goal was very clear: “promoting synergy between government and the private sector for a more prosperous Nigeria”. Subsequently, when I established Blueprint Newspapers, it was to further deepen the course for national unity; hence we set the mission statement for Blueprint thus: to ‘restore hope to our lives as a nation…to ensure that this news publication (Blueprint Newspaper) is well-produced while adhering to high ethical and professional standards of the journalism profession.”
In the vein and to further our course in providing the needed medium in deepening our democracy and national unity, we introduced the Hausa edition called Blueprint Manhaja; we acquired WeFM 106.3, while we have obtained a license for Blueprint Television.
The Kakaki Nupe then called on governments and security agencies to continually put journalists in confidence in the management of security information.
He reiterated that “Security is everyone’s business hence the security agencies must put the media into confidence on efforts at curbing the ugly trend around the country. I am strongly confident that we will soon return to the era when peace pervaded the length and breadth of the nation, our security challenge didn’t start today, we will therefore be wrong to blame such on any particular administration. Rather, as a nation, we must end the blame game and come together as critical stakeholders on how to get out of the present security challenges the nation is going through”.
Idris who was also the chief launcher form the chapter’s almanac donated one million naira.
Other notable guests at the event included the representative of the Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, ( Alh Yusif Suleiman, Commissioner for Water Resources) the National President of NUJ Mr Chris Isiguzo, Chairman, NUJ Niger State Chapter, Mal. Abdul Idris, representative of the Chairman of the occasion, Engr Sani Ndanusa, Marafa Nupe ( MaL Mohammed She, National Treasurer, NUJ, National) representative of the Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Hajiya Aisha Ahmed, (Dr Zainab Ndanusa) Alh. Muhammad Kudu Usman- Director of Finance and Admin, Federal Ministry of Health, Alh. UT Usman, Director General, Niger State Pension Board, Alh Danladi Buhari, former Permanent Secretary SSG’s office among others.
He commended the Niger State Council of NUJ for organizing the event and choosing a topical issue as its theme.