Officials in Central Nigeria on Tuesday started a novel partnership with bloggers to change negative impressions on Plateau State for globally benefitting investment to thrive.
Plateau State is traditionally known for unequaled farming and mining activities.
Minerals mined in the State during British Colonial rule in the country are believed to have added to infrastructural advancement of London.
Over the past two decades however, violent conflicts between farmers and cattle herders, have resulted in thousands of deaths and destructions.
These conflicts often publicized by the news media above local efforts to solve community problems have further caused negative image for the State, slowing development and increasing poverty, Officials say.
“Media plays a vital role in shaping public opinion,” Mr. Dan Manjang, the Commissioner of Information in the State said at a “capacity” training for Bloggers in Jos.
“We cannot completely control what goes out in the media but our appeal all the time is for practitioners to be civil, responsible and development-driven in their approach,” said Manjang.
Bloggers are important to Government, added Mr. Gyang Musa, the State Commissioner of Science and Technology.
“We want to build synergy with bloggers to improve the flow of information that would improve life in our communities,” he said.
The training on “strategic communication”, organized by the Plateau State Information Communication Technology Development Agency (PICTDA) is a first step towards improving media-government relationship in the public interest.
It aims to influence the use of social media for social good, Mr. David Daser, the agency’s Director General said.
“Our social lives are increasingly threatened by arbitrary use of social media. Bad reportage affects human psychology and family lives. This is more like a convergence to discuss and find areas to help ourselves and the community we live in,” he said.
Conflicts are inevitable, said Dr. Simon Makut, the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the State Governor.
“Wherever and whenever there is contest for resources, for space, relevance, ideas and influence, people will differ. But whether a news media content is constructive or destructive depends on who is using it, when, where, how and why.
“Our duty as Journalists is to package reports in a way that promotes the growth of society,” said Makut, a former Presidential Correspondent.
The Chairman of the Plateau State Bloggers and Online Media Association, Mr. Friday Bako was confident that the training will help bloggers to better report issues in a way that promotes growth.
Mr. Jephther Jackden, the General Manager, Plateau Radio Television Corporation also believes the training will enhance relationship between traditional and new media practitioners.
Over 20 bloggers are attending the first-ever training which ends Wednesday.