The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria, yesterday issued some recommendations, which it says are intended to assist the Nigerian media in reporting the challenges posed by the outbreak of the Ebola virus.
Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, commended the Nigerian media for its effort to give extensive coverage to the crisis but said the advisory was nonetheless necessary to serve as a guide for promoting best professional practices.
The 11-point advisory issued on Thursday, August 7, 2014, enjoins the Nigerian media and journalists to:
– Accord the highest regard to the public interest in reporting the Ebola crisis;
– Ensure that that the sole purpose of reporting the Ebola crisis is to adequately educate and enlighten the citizens;
– Painstakingly verify facts from credible sources in order to provide accurate and reliable information; facts must be held sacred and unfounded rumours dispelled;
– Apply the appropriate sense of balance in reporting the crisis by neither sensationalizing the news to create panic nor trivializing it to undermine the seriousness of the situation;
– Provide regularly updated information on what citizens can and should do to protect themselves from possible exposure to situation and circumstances that might cause Ebola infection;
– Work more closely with national and international health authorities as well as all levels of government to develop and publicise frequently asked questions (FAQs) (and answers) on Ebola;
– Put in place health support hotlines through which citizens could seek more information on Ebola;
– Regard the Ebola issue as a major national, regional and international crisis that could provoke multi-layer conflicts the reporting of which therefore requires the application of the principles of conflict sensitive journalism;
– Closely monitor discussions in the social media networks, blogs etc to promptly correct any false information that may be in circulation while using the same to disseminate credible information;
– Shun prejudice and exercise ethical discretion in using facts and figures and publishing information about victims;
– Give adequate regard to personal safety by taking necessary protective measures while doing field reports on the Ebola virus.
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