In a bid to harness the potential of media practitioners in contributing to peacebuilding, the Wika Gofwen 2023/2024 fellowship of the Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation organized a one-day sensitization workshop for journalists. The event, held on January 25, 2023, at the Plateau State Community and Social Development Agency (PLCSDA) Conference Hall in Jos, Plateau State, centered around the imperative for journalists to uphold the core principles of journalism and actively engage in fostering interreligious dialogue.
Mr. Wika Gofwen, in his welcoming remarks, stressed the crucial role journalists play in adding value to the peace process, especially in the face of recent violence in parts of the state. He urged journalists to steer conversations that promote interreligious dialogue as a means of contributing to peaceful coexistence.
The workshop was declared open by the Director of Press and Public Affairs for Governor Mutfwang, Mr. Gyang Bere, who lauded the initiative. He expressed the government’s willingness to support activities that promote peaceful coexistence, emphasizing the need for journalists to adhere to ethics and international best practices in crisis situations.
As the special guest of honor, Mr. Bere appealed to journalists to act responsibly and contribute positively to de-escalating crises. During the workshop, Rita Kachollom Abba, the General Manager of Plateau Radio and Television Corporation (PRTVC), and Dauda Danji, the General Manager of Plateau Community and Social Development Agency (PLCSDA), urged journalists to focus on reporting issues that foster peace and unity.
Rev. Fr. Polycarp Lubo, the Plateau State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), commended the work of Plateau journalists, while Adamu Shuiabu Kanam, representing Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI), echoed the sentiments and called for increased awareness of interreligious council activities.
Mr. Yakubu Taddy, representing the GM of PRTVC, called for balanced reporting and encouraged investigative journalism. Meanwhile, PLCSDA boss blamed unauthorized news sources on unprofessional social media platforms.
In her address, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Plateau State Council, Ayuku Pwaspo, emphasized the necessity of peaceful coexistence. She urged journalists to provide balanced media coverage guided by ethics.
During a technical session, Nde Katdapba Gobum while presenting a paper, underscored the importance of constant dialogue between journalists and societal leaders, especially religious leaders. Gobum traced the history of interfaith dialogue and stressed the need for a better understanding between faiths to prevent societal tension.
The workshop served as a platform for media practitioners to reaffirm their commitment to promoting peace through responsible journalism.