KADUNA, Nigeria (28/01/2015) – Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has tasked the country’s media to employ professionalism in its coverage and reporting on the 2015 general elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Kaduna, northwest Nigeria, Haliru Tambuwal who made the plea at a one-day media training on Election Coverage, tasked the media not to compromise on their code of professional practice and principles of social responsibility.
Represented by Hajiya Fatima Bande of the Corporate Affairs Unit of INEC, the Commissioner stressed that the media was expected to exercise good sense of judgement in election coverage, adding that “fairness, accuracy and balance are key as the media strives to report only fact-based electoral information”.
He also called on the media to accommodate views and perspectives of marginalised groups, especially the youths, women and people leaving with disability.
In the key paper, a media expert, Joseph Edegbo stressed the need for truthful reportage based on factual and verifiable information – tasking the journalists to be objective while reporting electoral issues. This according to him is the role of the media which will ensure that results from the process is termed Credible.
Edegbo stressed the need for journalist to always work toward de-escalation of violence and conflicts during the elections, adding that the media must show equity by providing opportunities to all contesting parties to ensure a level playing field.
“As the watchdog of the society, we must ensure that reports are devoid of elements capable of inciting the public…. Journalists should be conscious in reporting figures and identities of casualties of violent conflicts and desist from the use of offensive images capable of raising tension and conflicts.”
Also speaking, Amina Kazaure of Vision Trust Foundation, an NGO, asked journalists to adhere to professionalism, saying journalists should not be obligated to deliver an artificial report.
She tasked journalists to be conscious of their environment while on coverage to avoid any form of harassment. she cautioned them against unguided utterances and keeping wrong company, adding that, “as journalists, your information and views are held with high esteem.”