THE South-West Zone of the National Emergency Management Authority, NEMA, has urged the media to be objective and proactive in reporting emergency cases in order to avoid causing more damages to the existing emergency situation.
At a one-day training with the theme, ‘’Role of Media in Emergencies”, which gathered stakeholders in Lagos, Thisday Weekend Editor Tunde Rahman, South-West Coordinator for NEMA, Iyiola Akande, and several others, said the media is an important factor in managing emergency situation. They added that as a result, there is need for accuracy at all times.
In his keynote address, Akande said media practitioners should do a good, balanced and unbiased representation of government activities to the reading and listening public since the people put their faith in the media to perform this role.
‘’There is need for a better understanding between government officials and stakeholders in emergency management on one hand and media practitioners on the other hand.
This is what calls for a conducive partnership which engenders a clearer picture of the role of the media in educating the public about disaster; warning of hazards, gathering and transmitting information about affected areas,’’ he added.
According to him, the central function of the media in disaster management is a key factor to remind government and its workers about their responsibilities to the citizens and influence them to act swiftly by exposing the risks, hazards and vulnerabilities inherent in any community while providing a workable solution to mitigate the impact of impending disasters and disseminating early morning information to vulnerable communities.
Akande said the media plays a key role in shapping the will of the people and their way of thinking, ‘’in performing this role, journalists should be neutral in their duties and leave people to judge the fact,’’
He also noted that the event, will play a major role in disaster management, especially in the area of enhancing Disaster Risk Reduction DRR, ‘’if properly harnessed, the influence of the press, both print and electronic can play important roles in disaster management.