The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), has cautioned members of the 2018 Hajj Media Team against reporting Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs in the course of their reportage in the hold land.
The Executive Chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammad, gave the advice at the inauguration of the Media Team at the commission’s headquarters, on Friday in Abuja.
He also enjoined members of the team to focus on activities of Nigerian pilgrims and avoid indulging into the affairs of other countries, particularly Saudi Arabia.
According to him, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia have a long history of mutual relationship that should not be ruin by negative media reports.
Muhammad, therefore, urged media practitioners to report things that would add value to Islam and project the image of Nigeria very positively, adding that the media has a responsibility to educate Nigerians about Hajj.
“We should not border ourselves about the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia, either their politics, economy or modernisation or anything that has to do with their country.
“ We should try as much as we can to avoid something that can bring friction between Nigeria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“ Our focus should be on reporting the Hajj in such a manner that a person who has never being to the holy land, will feel as if he is practically there.
“Even a non Muslim who has no understanding of Islam and Hajj will come to appreciate the virtues and beauty of Islam through such reportage.
“We want to see media coverage that will result in situation where we will get people who will say because of 2018 Hajj reporting, I am now been reformed and I have converted and accept Islam,” Muhammad said.
The NAHCON boss stressed the need for members of the media team to consider their duty as an important national assignment which they have to make successful.
“It is an exercise that Nigerians will perform among other nations and our actions and inactions will say a lot about who we are and what we represent,” he said.
Besides, Muhammad urged journalists covering the Hajj activities not to allow themselves to be used by desperate politicians during the pilgrimage to the holy land.
He also cautioned pilgrims against travelling with campaign posters, souvenirs or anything that is pictorial as well as propaganda materials, adding that the Saudi authorities have prohibit traveling with such items.
Similarly, he warned pilgrims against travelling with Kola nut in commercial quantity as well as other items that are banned by Saudi Arabia.
Also speaking, Mr Bayo Atoyibi, Chairman Media Guideline Committee, admonished media professionals to adhere strictly to the Code of Ethics of journalism in covering Hajj operation.
Atoyibi also enjoined members of the team to consider themselves as agents of da’awah and avoid fake news which is criminal.