The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) is planning to accredit journalists that cover the annual pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
Chairman of the commission, Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammad, announced the decision yesterday in Abuja during the public presentation of Independent Hajj Reporters’ news website and awards.
He said the prevailing situation was that journalists, who are sponsored by various state Muslim pilgrims’ welfare agencies, sometimes, work at cross purposes and “endanger the diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia which a journalist may not be aware of.”
He said the commission intends to select journalists that would report Hajj and train them on the intricacies of covering the religious rites.
Muhammad urged journalists to report strictly on Hajj matters if they go to the Holy Land; and should desist from reporting issues with diplomatic implications.
He lauded the civil society’s effort of pioneering the first website in the country dedicated to Hajj and Umrah, hoping that the news portal would provide credible information that will counter the misinformation in the media about the yearly pilgrimage.
In his welcome address, the national coordinator of the NGO, Ibrahim Muhammad, said the decision to set up www.hajjreporters.com <http://www.hajjreporters.com/> arose from the need to create a platform that would aggregate Hajj-related stories and to serve as a knowledge-sharing platform for all stakeholders.