By Sandra Chukwunyere
The Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information (NASPRI) on Tuesday trained forty maritime journalists on the implications of preserving national security to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The one-day workshop held in Lagos was in collaboration with Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The workshop had the theme: “An Assessment of the Pattern of Reportage among Nigerian Maritime Journalists: Implications for Preservation of National Security and Foreign Direct Investment’’.
In her presentation, Prof. Abigail Ogwezz-Ndisika, from the Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos, urged the participants to always be guided by rules of engagement while reporting.
Ogwezz-Ndisika while speaking on Ethics, Skills and Personal Qualities to improve Maritime Reportage tasked the participants to ensure that challenges faced should not be an impetus for them to undermine the countries security and thus drive away investors.
“Media personnel have a duty to protect and secure the industry, they should ask themselves if what they are doing is right or wrong and in so doing ensure that they understand the rules of engagement.
“They should be diligent to ascertain the truth in their publications and ensure that whatever they are championing was responsible, be fair in all reporting,” she said.
She listed some of the unethical practices they should avoid as conflict of interest, use of offensive and indecent materials, character assassination, bribery, sycophancy and others.
Also, Col. Aliyu Yusuf, Acting Commandant NASPRI said that good image and reputation management could only be attained through effective application of strategic communication.
Yusuf while speaking on Narrative and Messaging said that narrative was a powerful way of disseminating information and supporting it with the right information would yield the desired results which would require planning, evaluation and effective communication in order to achieve success.
“Building a positive reputation for your organisation as public relations officer requires a proper understanding of message formulation, target audience analysis and effective understanding of the environment,” he said.
Mr Marce Anyanwu, a Public Relations expert said that biased reportage alone may not be all in all factors affecting the preservation of national security and attraction of FDI to the country.
Anyanwu while speaking on Preserving National Security and Attraction of FDI through unbiased Reportage, listed lack of openness, high inflation rate, poor economic decisions, insecurity, poor infrastructure and corruption as major causes.
“In a general sense, a maritime reporter should have a well-developed reporting skill and requires enough of either training or experience, or both to know how to identify sources, plan story research to give good news.
“The maritime journalists should and be able to sense when an answer does not ring true and write accurately and informatively,” he said.
Dr Suraj Olunifesi of the department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, noted that public expectation as regards news was changing, urging the participants to understand the new media, the social media because that was where the masses are.
According to Olunifesi, journalists see national interest as a selfish interest and so report narrow-minded news.
Speaking on the Effective use of New Media for responsive maritime reporting, Olunifesi noted that in putting up the maritime economy to be very attractive, journalists should consider the pecking (PEC) order of people, environment and company.
“Social media is a way to go and there is a need to position the country blue economy to attract investment,’ he said.
Earlier, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh appreciated the work of the journalists and pointed out that the programme would be part of the series that would follow.
DG who was represented by his Mr. Special Assistant on Communications & Strategy , Mr Ubong Essien said that as a coastal nation, there was the need to make people aware of the maritime strength and that it behooves on the press for the feat to be realised.
“We count on you to do your best as we also strive to do on our part and we will keep supporting you all,” he said.