Dr Ibrahim Sané, a Senegalese Journalist, has urged African Journalists to step up reportage that will consolidate peace processes in the sub-region.
Dr Sané, who currently works for a media regulatory body in Dakar, said reporting on conflict, migration and minority issues, should be done with a lot of care and avoidance of using stereotyping words that may not mean the same.
He expressed worry over the lack of confidence in the mainstream media because of unchecked facts.
He advised journalists not to see the profession as a race for scoops and a chase for monetary rewards since that only pushed the public to frown on journalism, especially when people realised there was a lack of truth in the news published.
Dr. Sané gave the admonition in an exclusive interview with Ghana News Agency at the side-line of a meeting for media practitioners and activists in Dakar, Senegal.
The meeting formed part of a five-day exchange meeting with journalists and activists from Ghana, Sierra Leone and Senegal, and organised by FAHAMU. a Pan African organisation that supports the movement of Social Justice, in partnership with Minority Rights Group International (MRGI) and the European Union.
The seasoned journalist who had practiced since 1979 and former BBC reporter in London, said journalists should set aside the simple principle of just broadcasting, but ensure to check for facts and sources of information.
Dr Sané, pointing out the dos and don’ts in journalism, said, “reporting on migration is a delicate issue because it involves engaging vulnerable people, those in stressful conditions, who do not feel safe and, therefore, require special attention and approaches to which journalists must remain humane in doing such reportage.”
Dr Sané, who also worked in Ghana, to coach some media houses such as URA Radio, Ada community Radio and in some other African countries said, “One thing is, we all tend to put everything on government’s shoulders but we need to look at private initiatives that can work better and efficient to solve the issues because governments are over whelmed already.”
He urged African citizens to take up the challenge and institute initiatives to improve the situation.
Ms Fatou Daye Mbaye, a journalist and advocate for Solution Journalism, in an earlier presentation, said the approach had considerable impact on peace processes.
She said though the approach was not different from mainstream Journalism, it allowed journalists to identify problems and their impact, proof of the problem, and limitation to the issue identified while finding solutions to them.
She explained that solution and peace journalism respectively, were complementary with respect to rules of ethics.
Meanwhile, in Senegal some of the minority issues included exclusion of people with albinism and child streetism, (where children were exploited for purposes of begging on the streets).
The meeting was held under a two-year project, ‘Engaging Media and Minorities to Act for Peace building (EMMAP), to raise awareness of the interconnection between conflict, migration and minority exclusion, to help build and consolidate sustainable peace in Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
It is being funded by the EU.