On April 21, five tertiary institutions in Adamawa State attended a one-day workshop on peace journalism hosted at AUN. The US Embassy in Abuja is a partner in the training program.
The participants were students from: Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola; Adamawa State University, Mubi; Federal Polytechnic, Mubi; Adamawa State Polytechnic, Yola, and AUN. The workshop was aimed at building a network of peace journalists in Nigeria, said Dr. Presly Obukoadata of SAS, who moderated the workshop.
In the first presentation, the Interim Associate Dean of SAS, Dr. Jacob Udo Jacob, addressed the participants on the tenets of peace journalism, a new approach to news reporting that is sensitive to conflict resolution. Professor Jacob has been spearheading the effort to entrench this approach in the University’s communication studies.
Dr. Jacob said that any journalist reporting on crisis should also have a decent knowledge about peace and conflict resolution. The professor began his presentation by showing how terrorists carry out negative propaganda through an appeal to the emotions of people. What gives terrorists joy is that the media report news which traumatizes people. Dr. Jacob maintained that terrorism appeals to the emotions of fear and some forms of violence.
“For the terrorists the major tool they use is emotional blackmail which the media help in carrying along to the people.”
The concept of peace journalism, said Jacob, is solution-oriented. “Peace journalism looks for unreconciled conflicts and proffers solutions.... It reminds us that there are alternate voices.” Dr. Jacob said that peace journalism reveals how we are all connected and also explains world events in ways that make sense and leave room for peace.
The workshop featured remarkable presentations: “Principles and practice of peace journalism” and “Practicing Peace Journalism in Nigeria: Opportunities and Constraints” by Professor Jacob; “Social media in peace journalism: the case of everyday Africa” by Ms. Danielle Villasana of SAS, and a panel discussion on the concept of objectivity in news reporting featuring Professor Joseph S. Rishante, moderating, Musikilu Mojeed of SAS, and Innocent Nwobodo, Director of Communications & PR.
Certificates were issued to all participants. One of them, Benson Lee, of the Peace & Conflict Studies program at MAUTECH, applauded AUN for creating such an event that will change the face of journalism.
“Words alone cannot express my heart to AUN; indeed this initiative has come at the right time when the world is in need of it.”