By Gbemiga Bamidele

Theme: – Radio and Peace

NEWSDAILYNIGERIA: Since when it was proclaimed in 2011 by the member states of UNESCO, and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, February 13 became World Radio Day (WRD).

Radio is a powerful medium for celebrating humanity in all its diversity and constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. At the global level, radio remains the most widely consumed medium. This unique ability to reach out the widest audience means radio can shape a society’s experience of diversity, stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented and heard.

Radio continue to be one of the most trusted and used media in the world, according to different international reports.

The theme for the twelveth (12th) edition of the World Radio Day to be celebrated on February 13, 2023 is “Radio and Peace”.

War, as an antonym to peace, signifies an armed conflict between countries or groups within a country, but may also translate into a conflict of media narrative, this is using “narrative” as a descriptor. A narrative combines the elements of a story with the techniques and methods used to tell the story and the narrative performance.

The narrative can increase tensions or maintain conditions for peace in a given context, for instance weigh in on the rough or smooth conduct of elections, the rejection or integration of returness, the rise or tempering of nationalistic fervour, etc.

In reporting and informing the general public, radio stations shape public opinion and frame a narrative that can influence domestic and international situations and decision making process.

See also  Senator Abbo's Revelation, Justice Tsofo's Prophecy And Implications For Democracy

Radio can indeed fuel conflict but in reality, professional radio moderates conflict and/or tensions, preventing their escalation or bringing about reconciliation and reconstruction talks. In contents of distant or immediate tension, relevant programmes for independent news reporting provide the foundation for sustainable democracy and good governance by gathering evidence about what is happening, informing citizens about it in an impartial and fact-based terms, explaining what is at stake and bokering dialogue among different groups in society.

In all these, there is need for professionalism; as professional radio addresses both the root causes and triggers of conflict before they potentially explode into violence through specific radio programming and editorial choices. Issue based programmes, for example, help cast a high on societal inadequacies, structural imbalances, poverty, resources or land disputes, corruption, arms racing, etc, reporting on and exploring options for underlying factors of conflict with journalistic (professional) standards. Radio editorial content may also raise alert to potential triggers of hostilities, such as miscalculations, growing propaganda, upsurge of specific controversies, escalation of tensions in certain zones, etc. It offers an alternative methodology of conflict prevention by clarifying frustrations or clashes of interest, clearing misunderstandings, identifying issues of distrust. This can help counter hate, the desire for revenge or the will to take up arms.

It is not radio flash reporting that contributes to conflict prevention and peace building but radio professionals’ accountability to citizens, fact-checking, accuracy, balanced reporting and journalistic investigation behind each broadcast news and programmes. Professional independent radio thus strengthens democracy and provides the foundation for sustainable peace. It should therefore more often be included in conflict prevention and peace building strategies and decisively a focus of media assistance.

See also  It's Still An Unjust World

As Nigeria prepares for another general elections, our radio stations should exemplify the best attributes of the radio industry as enumerated earlier. Furthermore, radio localism, audience reach and community service, laced with diversity in programme content and unwavering commitment to delivering premier news coverage.

There is dire need for capacity building and enhancement of radio journalists as this should be considered as an investment in peace. Support can also be provided in various other ways such as emergency funding or structural assistance to radio as a sector, promoting adequate legislation and regulation, fostering radio pluralism and diversity, safeguarding their independence, facilitating affordable taxes or overall financial viability, etc.

Similarly, it is also imperative for broadcast journalists to compost themselves within the ambit of the Code of Ethics, particularly as enshrined by the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission and the Nigeria Union of Journalists, amongst others. This will guard and guide them from advertently or inadvertently playing into the dynamics of conflict due to fragile editorial policy, loyalty to certain leadership or ownership, censorship, misinformation, disinformation and fake news.

Gbemiga Bamidele is the Convener, Society for Journalism Enhancement Initiatives (S4JEI)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here