By Adeola Badru
Journalists have been urged to always channel their reports on health related issues on preventive measures than giving preference to hazard caused by any ailments or infections.
The Chairperson of the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists(NAWOJ), Oyo State chapter, Mrs. Jadesola Ajibola, gave the admonition at the just concluded capacity building for journalists on the Media Role in Disease Emergency Response, organised by the Oyo State Emergency Operation Centre in Collaboration with Oyo State NAWOJ funded by the World Health Organisation.
Jadesola in her key-note address at the programme, charged journalists to always ensure that their health-based reports are based on nothing but fact and accuracy.
She tasked participants of the training to always seeks for opinion of the experts whenever they are filling their reports.
Jadesola alongside other speakers during the one-day training programme, which focused on COVID-19 pandemic, Vaccination, Cholera, Tuberculosis, Lassa Fever, monkey Pox, among other infectious diseases, charged journalists to always report the positive angle of health-based stories than the sensational angles.
“We will do a lot of good to member of the public only if we can based our reports on preventive measures than reporting the hazzard or negative side of the stories.”
She noted that negative stories always scared people and give them more problems.
Ajibola noted that people will love to read a preventive measure type of stories and take to all the precautions and this will reduce the number of casualties as well as curb the menace of the infection of any kind in the society.
She also in her lecture called on the government to see journalists as frontline workers and should be treated as such.
“We need to recognise journalists as frontline workers during emergencies. We should be seen and addressed as frontline workers and should be given hazard allowances.”
“We report and do a lot of sacrifices and work during the COVID-19 period just like health workers and other professionals but when the government want to give incentives and donate items, they give it to health workers not minding that journalists are the one reporting all these events.”
“We want the government and WHO and other agencies to see journalists as part of the people at the fore front during emergencies. We do a lot of work during emergencies like the outbreak of COVID-19,” she said.
In his address, Dr. Akinfemi Akinyode, the State Epidemiologist, who explained the importance of the training, noted that the training was organised to ensure that journalists have the necessary information about COVID-19 and other diseases.
He said: “This training is organise to ensure that journalists have necessary information to give to the public. So that appropriate message can be passed to the members of the public.”