The American University of Nigeria (AUN) last week conducted a workshop on Peace Journalism for 25 National and local journalists in Nigeria.
The Journalists who were drawn from various media organizations – including online, print and electronic media, also joined an AUN delegation on a food distribution mission to internally displaced persons at the headquarters of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam in Jimeta as part of the workshop’s practical peace reporting assignment.
The workshop’s lead facilitator, Prof. Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob emphasized that peace journalism demands of journalists a greater sense of responsibility in reporting conflicts.
Jacob, who is also Chair of the Communications and Multimedia Design (CMD) Program emphasized that the principles of peace journalism includes among others, a commitment to telling stories that emphasize peace initiatives, looking beyond the immediate issues or events to focus also on the structural, relational and systemic causes of conflicts, emphasizing not only visible impacts of conflicts but also on non-visible impacts such as trauma.
Earlier in her keynote address, AUN’s President, Professor Margee Ensign spoke of the need for journalists to hold political leaders to account, stressing that for democracy to thrive, journalists must live up to their watchdog responsibilities.
The two-day workshop featured video analyses, interactive sessions, group exercises and practical assignments. It covered wide ranging topics including storytelling in peace journalism, objectivity and balance in peace journalism, principles and practice of peace journalism, theories of peace and conflict transformation among others. Journalists that attended the workshop expressed gratitude to AUN for organizing the training, describing their experience as “eye opening”.
The workshop is the second in a series of Peace Journalism Workshops organized by AUN. The first was held in November 2014. To promote peace journalism practice in Nigeria the CMD has established a Peace Journalism Network with the objective of sharing resources and promoting best practices in peace reporting among journalists in Nigeria. The network can be accessed via www.groupspaces.com/peacejournalismnigeria. Membership is open to all practicing journalists in Nigeria.