By Musa Abdullahi Sufi
Maryam Abacha American University president and Founder Foundation, Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo (AAG) in partnership with PR Nigeria trained over 50 journalists on COVID-19 reporting unfolding event.
In his opening remark the Manager of PRNigeria Centre Kano, Adnan Mukhtar Adamu draw the attention of the participants to put into action all what they learnt, to in order to impact our community. into practice for the benefit of the society.
According Adnan “the centre gathered journalists from various media organizations and gave them the needed skills for understanding and adapting to issues of ethical concerns, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We promised that the centre will continue to hold such educative workshops in order to equip journalists with the best ethical and professional practice.
Furthermore , In the remark by the Volubteer Technical Adviser Musa Abdullahi Sufi, of AAG foundation emphasized to participate to show case their hidden talents in reporting just the COVID-19 pandemic numbers but silence areas of concern.
Sufi mentioned that “Look at local issues, things that contribute to the spread of the virus, domestic and sexual violence, massive unplanned pregnancy due to lock down, just name them,” he strongly pointed.
The workshop witnessed three paper Presentations from highly profile professionals in the communication sector.
Professor Umar Farouk Jibril form Bayero University Mass Communication department, Kano in Bayero University, Kano, has cautioned journalists of the danger of COVID-19 posing on them.
Professor Jubril, who was also a former commissioner of information in Kano state in his paper ‘Ethical Journalism and Best Practices in the Time of COVID-19,’ said that “Apart from Doctors and para-medics, the Journalists are the most victims of COVID-19. The worst is that there is no health insurance for Journalists, but the media organizations insure their equipment, buildings and properties.”
The Professor Further called on the participants to be very conscious of their personal safety while keeping track of the latest unfolding development during reporting the pandemic.
“it is very important for journalists to report about the number of Journalists affected by the pandemic and the issue of welfare of their families in order to bring out the issues for actions by key stakeholders.’ He added.
According to the second sparser Dr. Sule Yau Sule, a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication BUK and former Governor spokesman and currently the senior legislative aide to the Senator representing Kano Central presented a paper titled ‘Crisis Communication for COVID-19’.
He stated that ‘in passing communication messages in the time of crisis such as COVID-19, a strategic plan geared towards solving the issue at hand must be planned, adopted and evaluated for efficiency.
“You have to fashion out how the crisis is to be handled. When you have a strategic plan, you don’t stick to one aspect of communication because you are in crisis, depending on the circumstance and target audience, sometimes you may use religious scholars, Friday sermons for instance, tricycle riders and any other means to reach your audience”, He passionately pointed.
Dr Sule explain further ‘in times of crisis like this, communication should be centralised in order to avoid conflict of information, because the challenge of so many spokespersons in such a dilemma can sent contradictory information as people think differently.”
AbdulAziz AbdulAziz, Associate Editor Premium Times and award-winning Investigative Journalist was the third speaker during one day event.
Abdulaziz called on the trained Journalists to ensure working in accordance with the key principle and ethics of journalism.
He mentioned that “It is very important and necessary for journalists to practice in line with the code of conduct of Journalism practice.
“As journalists, we must conform to the qualities of selflessness and integrity when writing our report. It is pertinent to be careful in identifying story ideas and credible sources, considering looking out to other alternative facts.”
The investigative journalist emphasised that “There is need for investigative journalist to go deeper by scratching beyond the surface for accuracy.”
Malam Nainna Danbatta contiguted during the diacussike where he also pointed out that “Journalists covering the pandemic in Nigeria are close to being endangered species professionally, as most media organisations care more about stories and their revenue more than their reporters’ safety while covering the epidemic.”
The one day event Closed after presentations of certificates to the participants that comes from various media organisations.
The Workshop which was organized by the PRNigeria Centre for Public Relations and Investigative Journalism in collaboration with the Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo Foundation.