The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has given stern warning to rapists to desist from the heinous act or face the full wrath of the law, stressing that it will no longer be business as usual for culprits to get away freely.
Director General of the council Otunba Segun Runsewe, gave the warning in Abuja during a capacity building workshop on Reporting Rape for Journalists organised in Abuja by the NCAC in conjunction with OMNIMEDIA Nigeria Limited on the theme: “Banishing Rape: The media and Justice for Victims” as part of activities of its fight against the menace in the country.
Runsewe noted the role of the media in curbing the spate of rape, stressing that it has become pertinent to face the menace squarely in order to salvage the bad image it is giving Nigeria.
“We are coming out with unbelievable brands to change the bad attitudes in the country and with this new image of Nigeria to the world, it is no longer business as usual for rapists.
“Nigeria must change and we need the media to drive this change. A lot of Journalists are being careful to report rape cases because there are legal implications to it but they should know that their reports is aimed at bringing culprits to book and also not victimise victims of rape.
“Take the reporting of rape seriously because we need to change image of Nigeria. You need to speak for the blind, the deaf, and victims of rape and other forms of gender based violence,” he said.
In her remarks, the chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission Abike Dabiri-Erewa, expressed worry that rape issue has become a pandemic, appealing to journalists to advocate against the menace through their reporting as well as follow through to ensure that victims speak out and get justice.
Also in his remarks, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media Femi Adesina, stressed the importance of building capacity for Journalists towards eradicating rape, saying if not we’ll reported will further destroy victims.
“Rape is sensitive and emotive and if not we’ll reported will further destroy victims. We need tack, skills to report rape with passion so that there will be no cases of rape but when it happens report professionally, ethically and with human face,” he urged.
In his presentation titled “The Professional Ethics of Journalism and the Legal Conundrum in Reporting Rape and other GBV, the Principal Partner, Kayode Ajulo & Co. Castle of Law, Dr. Olukoya Ajulo, urged journalists to adhere strictly to the ethics by verifying accuracy, avoid blackmail of either victim or offenders when reporting rape in order not to be liable for criminal offences and defamation respectively.
Also in his presentation titled, ” Journalism and Change: Ethics, Responsibilities, and Possibilities in Covering Rape” Prof. Abiodun Adeniyi, harped on the need for confidentiality in coverage of rape, saying that it involves moral or ethical offence, and can be crime against humanity which rape represents.
Highpoint of the workshop was the presentation of plague to each of the over 20 selected media houses who have shown commitment to the fight against rape through publishing and airing of stories around rape.
According to the MD/CEO, OMNIMEDIA Nigeria Limited Shola Oshunkeye, the capacity building was tailor-made for journalists on improved reporting of sexual violence against women and girls with the aim of eradicating it.