Wrote from Kaduna
It is heartwarming that Independent Hajj Reporters is collaborating with Nigeria Union of Journalist, Kaduna council to organize a top management retreat on hajj information system and media reportage. Information management in Hajj administration and operations remains a fundamental challenge for hajj stakeholders. The spiritual underlining of hajj, where over 3 million people from diverse backgrounds, gathered for same purpose in a foreign land made it a feeding pipe for news and stories. Journalists from around the world are always looking forwards to this unique rich source of information and news.
In Nigeria, hajj information managers often faced difficult tasks of keeping pace with ever changing concept of events reportage. For example, what constitutes news and stories during hajj? How do we apply the ethical axiom of who, what, where, when, why and how to hajj reporting. Who are the main actors in hajj episode, Is it the pilgrims or hajj officials?
Nothing brought out this dilemma more than the unfortunate stampede that occurred during 2015 hajj. Immediately the stampede occurred, news begins gushing through online and main stream media. Conflicting figures of victim were being reported. There are instance where the same medium uses different and conflicting figures on the exact numbers of death recorded by Nigeria. Who has authority to officially announce the death of a Nigeria pilgrims either in Nigeria or in Saudi Arabia?
Another challenge is separating the right to know and the need to know. Hajj is a spiritual purifications exercise where pilgrims emotions and psychology reactions to news could make or mare his/her ability to fulfill those heavenly decreed criteria. Currently, some hajj information managers could not separate pilgrims’ rights from previleddges. This also constitutes a major challenge in packaging and delivering hajj news to the publics.
The workshop will cover issues like ensuring that pilgrims have access to the information they need, analyzing information on the Need-to-know basis, Protecting Pilgrims right to know, highlights Pilgrims rights and privileges, develop capacity for effective use of Freedom of Information act and applications to enhance efficiency in Hajj information cycle, acquisition of necessary skills and deployment of a new information request management system, Co-ordinate responses on information requests and promote best practice in relation to relevant Hajj policies and monitor and analyse performance in relation to Hajj information management to help hajj managers and service providers make better use of information, data and knowledge.
With hajj affairs becoming a global religious, social and economic centre points, there is no better time to address this information management in hajj than now.