July 10, 2024

Do more on gender-sensitive conflict reportage, Nigeria media told

Nigerian newspapers

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

As the country continues to battle insecurity and strife on many fronts, Nigeria’s mass media have been challenged to do more in highlighting the impact of conflict situations around country on women and children.

The challenge was contained in a report published by multi a competency advisory firm and public policy think-tank, Nextier, authored by its Senior Policy and Research Analyst, Kenneth Maduagwu.

The report, which combed the media database on coverage of gender-based violence in open conflicts, concluded that not enough is reported about the impact of violence on women and children in Nigeria.

According to the report, despite the evolution of the media landscape, especially social media and technological advancement, gender-sensitive conflict reporting has largely remained inadequate, while some news sources, conflict databases and other relevant stakeholders often struggle to disaggregate information on violence in Nigeria to show how it specifically affects women and children.

Maduagwu in the report contended that, “the gender dynamics of violent conflicts in Nigeria are obscured. Not much has been done to amplify, through journalism, the impact of Nigeria’s avalanche of security challenges on women and girls.

“Also, conflict reporting has come short of disaggregating the data based on gender. Hence, data on the gender dynamics of violent conflicts in Nigeria on mainstream media is insufficient. Mainstream media in Nigeria has not taken full responsibility for ensuring that violent conflict reporting is gender-sensitive.

“Therefore, extra work is done to harvest the gender dynamics of violent conflicts in Nigeria because mainstream media reports fail to capture such information. With this trend, there is a risk of having limited evidence for policy and programme formulation on gender dynamics of violent conflicts in Nigeria.

“Also, other activities, including sensitising the public on women’s and children’s plights across the various conflict hotbeds, remain greatly challenged.”

It further pointed out that as the media play an important role in informing the public and shaping stereotypes, perceptions and opinions, gender-mainstreaming will ensure that a gender focus is given to conflict reporting and journalistic materials.

To help efforts in this regard, Maduagwu advised that media platforms can use artificial intelligence and other technological tools to improve their news coverage and deepen the quality of information they obtain from hard-to-reach areas without exposing journalists to violence.

Other recommendations include community participation or citizens journalism to help provide alternative sources of information and contribute to the disaggregation of conflict data on a gender basis; and the need to provide training for media stakeholders on gender-sensitive conflict reporting.