By Lola Seriki Idahosa, Trace Reporters –The International Press Centre (IPC) Lagos, with support from the European Union, through European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) the component 4b: Support to media, the International Press Centre is implementing has advised journalists, media owners to adhere to the code of profession.
This advised was made by the Executive Director, International Press Centre, Lanre Arogundade in his welcome remarks and brief overview of the Nigeria media code of Election coverage at the roundtable IPC (webinar) with Edo State Journalists held on Thursday August 13th 2020.
According to him, “It is our hope that through effective usage of the code you will contribute to credible and indeed violence-free Edo State September 19th 2020 Governorship Election”.
The Executive Director also advised against reporting gory details of violence “leave out the ethic and religion identities of victims of violent political conflict in headlines,
“Ensure that explanation of the violence takes more space than the details of the violence fact-check,
“Exercise discipline of verification include solutions in your report, do not turn your opinion into fact”
On hate speech, “hate speech and incitement could lead to violence and threaten the Democratic fabric of society, urging media to prevent hate speech.
He urged journalists to take advantage of fact-checking to avoid publishing or broadcasting unverified materials from social media platform.
He said, conflict sensitivity, violent conflicts are obstacles to the conduct of free, fair and peaceful Elections as they could lead to voters apathy and hinder the free performance of media roles and responsibilities during electoral processes.
Lanre Arogundade also told journalists to refrain from social media posting which portral them as supporting hate speech, they shall contribute to lessening tension deriving from such misleading posts generated or reposted by other sources, by publishing the facts of a case using civil language, or toning down the hate elements in such postings through their intervention.
In his presentation, Lanre Idowu with topic ‘reporting in the public interest’ said Election is all about the people and for the people and plead with journalists to consider the interest of the public before publishing.
He urged media to play the impartial arbiter, a faithful chronicler of the course of events.
According to him, “media loyalty should be in upholding the accountability of all to the people of Edo State, A credible medium Kindles interest in Elections and encourages people to exercise their right to vote and pick their representative,
“It is an agent of development that must be courted for the overall good of society, a medium lacking in credibility is a liability to itself, unworthy of partronage and a danger to the society, which would rather be: a destabilising organ of mass deception and hysteria or an empowering development partner who sheds more light than heat?
Also speaking was Joshua Olufemi, who presented a paper with topic ‘The Imperative of Digital and Data Journalism, told journalists to always verify their reports before reporting it.
He said that the fundamentals of Elections is transactionary, social contract, rhetoric promises and propaganda, issue and interest based, law and regulations and security.
Joshua Olufemi said that the elements of Election reporting is to inform, analyse, numerical, fact-checking and situation report and urge journalists to report accurately.
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