By Austin Erameh
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has urged the media on accurate and effective public and policy sensitisation on issues bothering the passage, assent and implementation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Policy to alleviate the plight of the IDPs in the country.
Making this call at the recently concluded Media Dialogue session in Rivers state, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), represented by Program Manager, Democratic Governance, Okeke Anya, said the increasing humanitarian crisis in the South-South region with apparent capacity gaps by media practitioners to accurately cover and report on related issues had informed the need for the Dialogue.
He commended relevant authorities in the state for their continued support for affected persons in the wake of crisis including the hundreds of thousands of IDPs in the Bakassi region and the on-going influx of Refugees who flee violence and persecution in Southern Cameroun.
Also speaking at the Dialogue, Assistant Liaison Officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Samuel Agwa, observed that the Dialogue was held at a very important period where the humanitarian community in the region faces a complex situation with Refugees streaming in from Cameroun.
“It is on this note that the UNHCR has been conducting majority of its activities and supporting the National Commission for Refugees (NCFR) towards successful operations in profiling Refugees and other Returnees,” he added.
The Assistant Liaison Officer acknowledged and lauded sustained collaboration between the UNHCR and CISLAC, stating that the partnership would enhance collective advocacy for introduction and effective implementation of relevant frameworks for the protection and assistance of IDPs and other Persons of Concern in the country.
Meanwhile, the participants bemoaned the accelerating rate of inaccuracies associated with media reportage in conflict and humanitarian issues across some affected communities in the state like Ikom, Obubra, Boki, Yala and others with observed tendency to aggravating conflict.
They, therefore, recommended information sharing amongst media practitioners to enable the best available channel(s) break certain sensitive/critical news; effective partnerships for promoting credibility in reportage, building a community of practice in the context of humanitarian reporting; capacity development and training workshops on conflict sensitivity reporting; adequate resources for independent/investigative reports; improved efficiency of State Emergency Agency for improved efficiency of the Agency; follow-up with coverage of the proposed humanitarian legislation in the State House of Assembly; appropriate linkage of Justice Sector with humanitarian context.
The dialogue played host to practitioners from both electronic and print media with specific focus on improving the capacity of practitioners and quality of reportage within the humanitarian context.