Prof. Bala Muhammad of the Bayero University Kano has advocated for humanitarian journalism to be included in the university curriculum for better knowledge about crises and issues that affect human welfare.
Muhammad, Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communications, said this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria after a two-day workshop for media professionals in Kano.
He said that the workshop was aimed at improving the reportorial skills of journalists in reporting humanitarian issues which was organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
According to him, humanitarian journalism can be defined as the production of factual accounts about crises and issues that affect human welfare.
Muhammad called on ICRC and other organisations to collaborate and propose to the universities, especially at the graduate level for humanitarian journalism to be a part of the studies.
“It will help the journalists to have knowledge of crisis and conflict reporting.
“Most universities have health, development, communication, population journalism except humanitarian journalist,’’ he said.
He says the five pillars of Nigeria’s insecurity are guns, make them bold; drugs, make them reckless; forests, hide them; motorcycles, give them mobility and corruption fuels their impunity.
“A humanitarian journalist needs to be creative, vibrant, innovative, resilient and must not be biased, write fake news and uninformed,” he said.
According to him, generally, the news of conflict involves other news values as drama and oddity; therefore, has an emotional impact factor that appeals to many people.
Muhammad said a journalist must know history of the place, the geography and how to understand fake news.
He advised that journalists should bring out the side of the victim perspective to limelight because the person was also newsworthy.
“ The culprit has been the centre of news all the time, we are trying to tell our journalists that the victim is also newsworthy, the victim should also be considered a news material,’’ Muhammad said.
He said that the criminal deserved punishment and the victims deserved people’s sympathy and so journalists should look at both ends.