It has become a usual thing for Nigerians to wake up every morning with screaming headlines in the print and electronic media as Nigerian Military battles the bastardized terror machineries called Boko Haram (BH). BH, an Islamic sect that believes in terrorism together with their foreign and local accomplices are bent in destroying the greatest black nation in the world due to their parochial and nonsensical reasons; the campaign which they started some few years ago from the North Eastern part of Nigeria.
One cannot but say, most of the media reports emanating from some of the Nigeria media houses are glorifying and promoting in subtle ways the inglorious ideology of the terrorist organisation; which is instilling fear in the minds of the right thinking members of the society even in areas where they haven’t thrown any bomb.
The frightening mental picture been painted of the military war against terror seems to glorify the dastardly acts of the terrorists while running down Nigeria’s indomitable Military known worldwide for its ground breaking victories in peace keeping just because of political sentiments, is the height of unpatriotic behaviour.
It could be recalled that the Nigerian Military Authority recently accused an online media, Sahara Reporters of working for the terrorist group BH in the process undermining the laudable feats the Military has recorded in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.
The report added that, Sahara Reporters is hell bent in bringing Nigerian Military authority to disrepute thereby killing the morale of the soldiers hence the frivolous corruption allegation they levelled against the military authority just to incite the rank and file in the military against the authority.
A situation front line opposition figures like the Rivers state Governor, Rotimi Ameachi has used as a yardstick to called on the disgruntled soldiers and officers in the military to protest; insisting that, they have the right to do that.
It is in view of the above that the Chief of The Naval Staff, Vice Admiral UO Jibrin, at the just concluded one day seminar organized in Lagos by the Defence Correspondents Association of Nigeria (DECAN), with the theme; Terrorism and the Military Reportage – Implications for Democracy and National Security admonished media professionals to ‘be guided by patriotic instincts in their reportage of the war against terror. ‘Speaking as a Special Guest at the 2014 edition of the seminar, Vice Admiral UO Jibrin, said,
“The media must see itself as a veritable pillar in the effort at combating terror. The onerous contribution of the media should be based on objective, fair and balanced reportage. I urge our media partners to be guided by patriotic instincts in the reportage of the war on terror. We could learn from the experiences of the Pakistani and Indian media in their coverage of security operations in both countries.”The media is as relevant to the military and the general society just as the military is to the media and society for carrying out constitutional duties. Therefore, the military and the media should collaborate to protect and promote national interest. We should see and corporate with each other as partners in progress and co-stakeholders in national defence, peace and security matters.” Speaking further, he re – emphasised that the Military, worldwide needs public support and understanding for the prosecution of their operations in war and peace. Stressing that from the coverage of the Vietnam war to the 2nd Gulf Wars, it has become evident that the Millitary operations will continue to come under public scrutiny due to expansive and real time press coverage.
Acknowledging the fact that, the media been an organization that shops public opinion, the Military and other security agencies cannot afford to ignore the role the media play in presenting to the public perspectives of what the Military is doing to keep the country safe and secure.
This according to Vice Admiral UO Jibrin, calls for synergy between the Military and members of the fourth estate of the realm. “This is evident in our country today in the face of terrorists threats and attacks witnessed in recent times . Winning the war on terror requires the collaboration of all stakeholders in the national security architecture.”
He assured of Nigerian Navy’s preparedness to continue to relate cordially with media as it is its tradition to work harmoniously with the media to archive excellent results for the benefit of the Nigerian people.
In a welcome address at the event , the President of DECAN Mr. Philip Nwosu said the one day seminar was organized to abreast Defence Correspondents of the rudiments of reporting the military and other security agencies particularly as the military and other security agencies wage war against terrorism and Kidnappings. He said, “Within the last few months, the military has come under intense scrutiny by the media especially as it affects their activities in prosecuting the fight against insurgency in the Northern part of the country.
Some of these perceived attacks on the armed forces arose from the fact that, the media sometimes lack in depth knowledge of military operations and modus operandi which often leads to seeming disagreement between the two agencies.”
Mr. Nwosu further stressed that since Defence Correspondents are not military men, they need to be fed properly with information regarding military operations against insurgency to enable them do balance reports that would not jeopardised national security; and also avoid putting the military in a bad light.