Home News IPC Trains Edo Journalists on Fair, Accurate Election Coverage Ahead of Governorship...

IPC Trains Edo Journalists on Fair, Accurate Election Coverage Ahead of Governorship Poll

36
0

IPC Trains Edo Journalists on Fair, Accurate Election Coverage Ahead of Governorship Poll.

By Orogun Oke-Oghene, Benin City

In the build-up to the 2024 elections in Edo state, stakeholders have been tasked to build up the zeal to work tirelessly to deliver a free and fair election. The Media Dialogue and Stakeholders’ Interface on the Edo Governorship Election has set precedence to ensure a credible and peaceful electoral process.

The International Press Centre (IPC) concluded a two-day training and stakeholder dialogue for Edo State-based journalists before the governorship election on September 24, 2024. The training aimed to equip journalists with the necessary skills for fair, accurate, ethical, and inclusive election coverage.

Executive Director of the International Press Centre (IPC), Mr. Lanre Arogundade, noted that the public interest should constitute the guiding principles and not any other interest, be it partisan, cultural, religious, or political. He reminded INEC and security agencies that the Nigeria media code of election coverage required institutions to provide a conducive environment for journalists to carry out their duties during elections.

Election campaigns highlight what candidates intend to do if they are elected. Candidates must explain to the electorate how their tenure would positively impact their lives.

Mr Taiwo Obe of the Journalism Clinic urged newsmen always to report elections from a citizenship perspective, stressing the importance of asking the right questions and telling impactful stories.

Obe urged journalists to leverage modern technologies to tell their stories, seek knowledge, and use professionalism to fight misinformation in the social media era.

Executive Director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, urged the media to ensure that environmental protection becomes a central issue in the election discourse.

“There are issues of gas flaring in areas like Gelegele in Edo State; the provision of safe drinking water, illegal mining, and protection of the forests should be among electioneering campaigns. Candidates inundate the electorate with tales of electricity, pipe-borne water, and access roads. However, one key area primarily ignored by candidates in Nigeria is climate and environment. The media should ask the governorship candidates how they intend to tackle these challenges if elected governor”.

The event, held under the auspices of the EU-Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN II) “Component 4: Support to the Media”, featured sessions on newsroom scenarios, storytelling techniques, and the importance of fact-checking claims made by politicians and other stakeholders.

The training sessions focused on identifying priority issues for Edo citizens, early warning indicators of possible violence, and critical points for civic/voter education. Participants also discussed how the media can report fairly and accurately, aligned with EUOM recommendations and regulatory frameworks such as the Electoral Act and Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

The chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council, Festus Alenkhe, appealed to INEC to provide journalists with timely election information to enable balanced reportage.

“INEC should be available to us before, during, and after the election. This will help reduce the spread of fake news and combat misinformation; journalists are targets of violent acts by party sympathizers during elections. According to a Committee to Protect Journalists report, no fewer than 28 newsmen were obstructed, attacked, or harassed during the 2023 governorship and state houses of assembly elections”.

Alenkhe further urged a stop to this, calling on security agencies to provide adequate protection for journalists covering the Edo election.

Adesuwa Ehimuan, chairperson of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists in Edo State, highlighted the media’s vital role in ensuring the public receives factual information about the election.

“We need to be vigilant in our reporting, fact-check information, and give voice to all stakeholders. Security agencies should be committed to protecting journalists and voters on election day”.

Stakeholders, including the INEC Resident Commissioner for Edo State, the Edo State Police Command, and the Civil Defence Corps, emphasized shared responsibilities and the cultivation of cooperative partnerships to protect journalists, promote peaceful elections, and enhance public understanding of voting and counting procedures.

Participants were encouraged to hold politicians accountable based on their campaign manifestos and to use the flashback method to examine what politicians said in previous elections.

The training concluded with an interface with critical election stakeholders, where insights were shared with participants.

However, the INEC representative’s response to a participant’s raised field experience during the last national election was criticized for failing to build public trust and ensure voters’ registers were adequately updated.

Previous articleKiddie Packs Cigarettes—African’s New Products.
Next articleExperts warn of climate change devastation in Nigeria, call for methane reduction.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here