Defence and security reporters have been challenged to deploy investigative journalism skills in their effort to make the defence sector a lot more transparent and accountable in Nigeria.
The challenge came as a result of concerns expressed by stakeholders that defence sector policies impede the efforts of journalists to deepen their coverage of the sector.
This was made known on Tuesday in Lagos at a one-day media workshop for 21 investigative journalists and editors on defence sector accountability reportage organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, in collaboration with Transparency International and support of DFID-UK.
Bringing to bare his wealth of journalistic experience, Senator Iroegbu minced no words in his presentation, “Accuracy in Investigation and Reporting As A Key To Achieving Defence Reform Agenda – Experience Sharing.
He expressed top notch approaches to reportage of defence and security issues, urging the media practitioners to review their strategies and move beyond crisis messaging in order to enhance security sector reforms and therefore participate in building a deep understanding of objective security contexts and threats.
“Its time you go beyond reportorial and go deeper to actually become an expert, contributing your quota to issues when your opinions are sought.”
He intimated the participants to the reasons why the military cannot distant itself to the era of instant global media communication and the need to be reformed and be in sync with prevailing situations.
He urged them to adopt more uncompromising ways of demanding accountability and transparency through their reportage.
He shared optimism that if media beam their searchlight in the defence sector, hold stakeholders accountable, things will improve for the defence sector and for the nation.
CISLAC, Programme Officer, Mr. Salaudeen Hashim advocated that there should be a level of reform particularly within policy regime within the state.
He highlighted this against the background that there seems to be a few policy space that is shrinking media practices.
Mr. Hashim also advised the media to do more of in-depth research into the defence sector they are reporting because this would indeed help to situate them in a more balanced way to avoid any sort of partisan or perception of being lopsided in any way.
Earlier, CISLAC Project Officer, Bertha Ogbimi reeled out the organisation’s interventions in the defence sector and the successes gained. Among them are the SANDS project researches that birthed policy briefs, like ‘Weaponising Transparency’ Defence Procurement Reform As A Counterterrorism Strategy in Nigeria, 2017; ‘Camouflaged Cash’- How ‘Security Votes’ Fuel Corruption in Nigeria, 2018 and Involvement Of The Nigerian Security Services in the 2019 Electoral Process: Guardian or Threat to Democracy?