Why We Host Army PR Workshop- Kukasheka
On behalf of the Officers and Soldiers of the Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR) and Nigerian Army School of Public Relations (NASPRI) I welcome the Special Guest of Honour, Major General MS Yusuf, General Officer Commanding 81 Division Nigerian Army, distinguished invited guests and participants to the combined DAPR/NASPRI media workshop and study period for the year 2018.
This combined workshop and study period is coming at a time when Nigeria is facing myriads of security challenges and at a point when public’s understanding and support is very desirable. As public relations practitioners in the Nigerian Army, you have a great role in making the public understand and support the Army as it confronts these security challenges.
Our assignment is critical to the public perception and image of the Nigerian Army. We will therefore be required to develop, implement and monitor operational and tactical communication strategies and provide timely advice to all levels of command within the Nigerian Army. For you to meet up with these duties, you must keep abreast with contemporary development in the field of public relations, this could be attained through training such as this.
You will recall that during the DAPR Third and Fourth Quarter Conference 2017, the need to effectively use the social media by the Directorate was re-emphasized. Therefore, the Directorate has evolved the use of the social media to tell the Nigerian Army’s story and also listen through interaction and gauging feedbacks from the public. It is heartwarming to note that the response from the public have been quite encouraging. However, a new development associated with this phenomenon is the issue of inaccurate reporting of events that often graduate to sheer fabrication or fake news. It is on this premise that this media workshop and study period tends to focus on fake news.
Consequently, the theme of the combined media workshop/study period is “Fake News a Threat to National Security: The Way Forward” was carefully chosen to drive home the urgent need to address it. This study period is to also serve as a platform to build capacity in our personnel through intellectual interactions with carefully selected resource persons for these two days. From your interactions, you stand to benefit from the wealth of professional experience of the resource persons and guest lecturers on the various topics that aptly address the theme. This training will also provide a good opportunity for the participants to expand their knowledge and exchange ideas that would enhance overall performance in the discharge of assigned tasks. I hope at the end of it we would come out with great strategies that would mitigate the menace of fake news. This will enhance awareness among NA personnel on the effective ways to respond to wrong messages.
Fake news is a misconception and misrepresentation of issues as it affect our operations and other military activities when not properly addressed, it hampers our operational activities and demoralize our troops. Therefore there is need to engage the public by telling our story rightly. The DAPR is also mindful of the risks associated with fake news hence the need to set aside this training period to help our personnel understand how to liaise with the media and present the true situation of event as they occur. I urge all participants to make good use of the training opportunity afforded them by this study period to bring out their best in all interactive discussions.
The DAPR will be willing to implement well thought out ideas that emanate from our fruitful deliberations especially if they will enhance the achievement of the COAS vision which is “To have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles”. It is hoped that the fruitful deliberations from the Study Period will thoroughly reinvigorate the professional competence of NA public relations practitioners in handling contemporary challenges.
Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman
Director Army Public Relations