The role of the media in reducing conflicts is critical and journalists need to be sensitive in their reportage to promote peacebuilding among factions for sustainable development,
“Professional journalists do not set out to reduce conflicts, but they can help reduce it if they seek to present accurate and impartial news. It is therefore believed that through good reporting, that is, conflict-sensitive reporting, conflict is reduced.”
Mr Ali Anankpieng, Upper East Regional Executive Secretary, National Peace Council, said this at Bolgatanga during a roundtable discussion on conflict sensitive reporting organised by the National Peace Council in collaboration with the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and Care International.
The event funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was part of the implementation of the Agriculture Governance, Resilient and Economic Empowerment (AGREE Activity).
The Regional Executive Secretary implications of conflicts on the socioeconomic development of the national and recent disturbances particularly in the Upper East Region was retarding development and economic progression.
He said apart from the loss of lives and destruction of property which compelled government to spend huge sums of resources in maintaining peace, investment opportunities are being taken away from the region.
In recent years, the Upper East Region has been charaterised by chieftaincy and land disputes resulting in loss of several lives and destruction of property.
Apart from chieftaincy disputes in the Bawku and Bolgatanga, there is also a land dispute between and chiefs and people of Doba in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality and Kandiga in the Kassena-Nankana West District.
This, Mr Anankpieng called on media practitioners in the region to employ their wide coverage and influence to help reduce conflicts and promote peaceful coexistence in those areas through researched, accurate and unbiased reportage and commentary.
“We expect the media themselves to be ready to reduce the tensions that are in the region through your reportage and we believe that conflict sensitive reporting will be good in that regard.
“When we talk about conflict sensitive reporting, we are talking of reporting that is based on facts, views of all the stakeholders involve or people impacted by the conflict and working to avoid increasing the risk of the people in the community,” he added.
Mr Ben Kasimu Wumbla, Conflict Mitigation Coordinator, WANEP, noted conflict management was key to preserving lives and promoting socioeconomic development and added that there was the need for journalists to be abreast with issues of the conflicts through research and balanced reporting with sensitive in reportage.
Mr Osman Muntawakilu, Vice Chairman, Upper East Regional Chapter of the Ghana Journalists Association admonished journalists to always thrive for accuracy that promoted peace rather speed and sensationalism.
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