The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC has organised an orientation workshop for journalists on proper reportage of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The orientation is aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge of the media on COVID-19 and containment efforts by the government.
According to the Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the orientation is in recognition of the important role the media plays in enlightening the public on critical issues.
Represented by a director in the agency, Dr Elsie Illorin, the DG said that through the media, a lot of Nigerians get to hear about happenings in the society.
“The media are our allies in the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 and we need to get more information out to the public at all times. Hence, the need to engage you”. Chikwe said.
He appealed to the media to assist the agency to stop the spread of fake stories circulating and misleading the public on Coronavirus.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, while addressing the participants, appreciated them for the show of solidarity in the face of the global pandemic.
He added that the orientation would leverage on media platforms for building and maintaining public trust.
On his part, Mr Rufus Eshuchi of UNICEF stressed that because the public so much trusts in the media, there is the need for the media to have the correct information to pass out.
He also advice traditional media houses to create social media handles for faster passage of information to their audiences.
Similarly, the World Health Organization’s representative, Hawa Sesay, said that the media need to avoid reports that stigmatize people that acquire the virus.
She knows that most people run away from testing for the disease due to stigmatization. Sesay, however, reminded the journalists of their advocate roles and urged them to sustain it.
Also speaking, Mr Halilu Usman of the US Center for Disease Control, commended the Nigerian media for sustained reportage and urged them to do more. He said that the CDC would continue to assist the Nigerian government at this trying time.
Participants were advised to continue to hold governments accountable and keep the citizens accurately informed of issues surrounding COVID-19.
The participants were advised on how to stay protected while reporting the Coronavirus.
The media orientation workshop bought together media practitioners from the print, broadcast and online media in Nigeria.