Information Minister Urges Media to Curb Publicity for Terrorism

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has called on the media to refrain from giving publicity to acts of terrorism, as such coverage can inadvertently embolden terrorists and undermine the morale of security forces.

Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday at the opening of a two-day training workshop for Defence Correspondents, Idris emphasized the need for responsible reporting. The workshop, themed “Effective Reporting Towards Strengthening Alternatives to Terrorist Ideology,” was organized by the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution.

“Terrorists are not just fighting a physical war; they are also engaged in a psychological battle,” Idris stated. “It is disheartening when media outlets, sometimes unconsciously, promote the activities of these terrorists. Without propaganda, terrorism cannot thrive.”

The Minister urged the media to exercise caution and responsibility in their reporting to avoid presenting terrorists as heroes fighting for a social cause. He stressed that terrorism is an ideological battle, with extremist groups exploiting vulnerabilities, spreading fear, and propagating deceptive messages.

“To counter this, we must provide compelling, positive alternatives that resonate with the same audiences targeted by terrorists. Your reporting plays a crucial role in this endeavor,” Idris said. He also highlighted that sensational reporting, misinformation, and fake news can be as damaging as terrorist acts themselves, and urged the media to avoid such practices.

Idris commended the NCTC for its ongoing engagement with the media, noting that this approach significantly contributes to shaping public perception and understanding of the complex issues surrounding terrorism and national security.

“The media can either undermine or bolster collective efforts to provide alternatives to extremist ideologies,” Idris remarked. “Through their reports, images, and commentaries, the media have the unique ability to educate, inform, and inspire resilience among the public.”

He advised Defence Correspondents to collaborate with security experts, sociologists, psychologists, and community leaders to provide a multi-faceted perspective on terrorism and its alternatives.

The Minister also encouraged the media to continue highlighting successful initiatives and programs by the NCTC and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) that counter radicalization, as well as the rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant terrorists into the community.

Thirty journalists from various media houses are participating in the first phase of the training.

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