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Reporter responsibility and remembering Charlie Gillett

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Penny Vine | 11:10 UK time, Friday, 19 March 2010

The area around Jos in Plateau State Nigeria has seen a new wave of ethnic and religious violence in recent days.

On 7th March, three villages were attacked and, though exact casualty figures are disputed, hundreds of villagers are believed to have been killed.

jos_women_crop.jpg

A policeman walks past women protesting the recent killings of scores of mainly Christian villagers in Jos on March 11, 2010 Picture: Getty Images

Although the victims on this occasion were mostly Christian, the attacks are thought to be reprisals for previous killings in January, which claimed the lives of over 200 people, mostly Muslims.

But the longstanding problems in the area are about far more than just religious differences

On Over to You this week, Rajan speaks to the BBC's Lagos correspondent, Caroline Duffield.

She was among the first reporters on the scene at Dogo-Nahawa, one of the villages where many people were killed two weeks ago.

She found people desperate to have their story told and angry with security forces for what villagers saw as their failure to protect them. She reported that she had seen no security forces herself on the road to the village.

An Over to You listener, Edwin, sent a text from the Netherlands to say that the BBC could be contributing to the sense of fear and insecurity in the area with such reports.

Rajan discusses with Caroline whether journalists could be in danger of fanning the flames of unrest in such situations.

She argues that objective eye witness accounts and accurate information are vital in a confused situation where rumour and unsubstantiated allegations are rife.

What do you think? What are the roles and responsibilities of reporters in such tinderbox situations?

Remembering Charlie Gillett

We learned this week of the sad death of the world music champion and long-time World Service presenter, Charlie Gillett.
 
If you'd like to pay tribute to Charlie, tell us of your memories of listening to his programme and what it's meant to you, please leave your comments on this blog or send them via e-mail direct to us at overtoyou@bbc.co.uk.

We'll feature some in the programme next week.

Penny Vine is the Producer, Over To You

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and
its programmes. It airs at 10:40 and 23:40 every Saturday, and at 
02:40 on Sunday (GMT). 

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