Conflict Reporting, Media Sensationalism and National Interest

By Ibrahim Dahiru Danfulani
The Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies fighting terrorism in the North East and other sundry crimes across Nigeria have so far demonstrated ample commitment and resilience which accounted for successes being recorded especially the defeat of the insurgents, recovery of arms and ammunition.
In the process of the war against terrorism and insurgency, it is normal for the troops and other security agencies to suffer some casualties and equipment losses as it happens every where in the world. 
 In war, attrition losses are inevitable and often considered in war planning by military Commanders.
While in Nigeria military setback in the fight against Boko and ISWAP terrorism is seen by the media as a hot news meant to sell their newspapers and magazines, thereby knowingly or unknowingly lowering the morale of troops and other agencies, slowing down the tempo of counter terrorism operations.
 In the developed countries like the United States, United Kingdom and Russia their setbacks in war are as policy either under reported or not reported at all.
A good example was when the United States used precision drone to fix and kill one of the most powerful Iranian figures General Suleimani and the subsequent retaliation by Iran when her missile attacked Al Assad air base which reportedly resulted in maximum casualty where about 180 people were feared killed and over 146 injured with elaborate damage to over 16 helicopters, 3 cargo aircrafts and 3 MQ – 1 predator drones.Also the United States base command centre, 4 hangers, 3 Barracks and several military tents and air traffic control tower were reportedly effectively damaged or destroyed. All these were unreported by the western media.
Unlike in Nigeria where losses by the military and other security agencies are sensationally reported with all the possible negative repercussions to the troops, the nation and her national interests.
It is unfortunate that most of the media in Nigeria, (social media inclusive) don’t  consider national interest but pecuniary interests are top most in their agenda. Hence, fake news and sensationalism in their reportage for selfish ends is now becoming a major security issue in Nigeria.
Therefore, for the sake of the security, Peace and development of our beloved country, the media in Nigeria needs to self regulate itself especially when covering and reporting on conflicts in Nigeria. Things that are likely to aggravate tensed situations or have the tendency to lower the morale of security agencies and the national interest of our nation are better not reported. This seems to be the norm in most developed countries and the earlier the media factor and observe this while reporting conflicts and terrorism war in Nigeria the better for the security, Peace and development of the country.

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