By Lola Seriki Idahosa, Edo –International Press Centre (IPC) Lagos in conjunction with Association of Communication Scholars and Professional of Nigeria (ACSPN) has trained Journalists covering Edo/Ondo Elections on professionalism, factual, conflict sensitivity and safety consciousness on the forthcoming Governorship Elections.
The one day webinar/virtual capacity building session for journalists ahead of Edo/Ondo state Governorship Elections, held on Monday 7th September, with theme Edo/Ondo Elections: ‘The Imperative of safety consciousness and conflict sensitivity in media coverage and Reporting’ aims to engage and build the capacity of selected journalists and media stakeholders in both state respectively.
In her presentation, Electoral conflict and media coverage: the need for conflict sensitive reporting in Edo/Ondo Elections by Ruqayyah Yusuf Aliyu (PhD) faculty of communication, Bayero University, Kano advised journalists not to be overzealous in reporting issues but to verify all facts and figures.
According to her, ”journalists should ensure safety/professionalism, consider national interest by given it a priority, set a positive agenda, down play the negative and promote peace,
“Journalists to uphold journalism ethics in reporting Election processes and outcomes,
“Be non-partisan, inspire of pressures and personal preference of affiliations,
“Be responsive in engaging in intensive voter education, sensitize members of the public on particularly the consequences of violent conflicts,
“Journalists covering Elections should work as a team and take advantage of the new media,
“The media must live up to it’s statutory and social responsibilities by upholding to ethics and professionalism.
Also in his presentation, with topic, On situational scan journalists safety issues in Nigeria: What journalists in Edo/Ondo should know by Melody Lawal, urged journalists to take into cognizant that nothing has change much to the way and manner of how our politicians view Elections – as a Do or Die Affair”
He challenge journalists to situate their role and interest in the context of the interest of the two major stakeholders -the politicians and the people.
Melody Lawal advised journalists in the interest of the people to be non-partisan, be brave, smart and never to walk alone during Election coverage.
In his presentation, Elections coverage, COVID-19, Addressing Issues of personal safety by Dr. Clinton Okonye of medical officer Caleb university urged journalists to take preventive caution while covering Election and always observe COVID-19 guidelines.
According to him, COVID-19 has change the landscape of interaction and well being and would continue to do so for a while to come, with this in mind we must endeavor to embrace this new normal and individually play our part to see that recovery from the untoward effect of this pandemic is reversed”we are the change, we are the cure”
In his welcome remarks by Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director of International Press Centre (IPC) said the essence of organising the training is to enhance the capacity of journalists on professional reporting of issues of governance, democracy and development.
He said the key objectives are to strengthen the capacity of the media to engage in the professional, ethical, issue-oriented, gender-sensitive, inclusive sensitive and conflict sensitive reporting of the electoral processes and Elections.
He said IPC choose to organized the training because of the prevailing circumstances in the two state, in area of safety and how Journalists could avoid getting harm’s in the course of their legitimate duties amid the general concern that the Elections could turn violent as political violence are already being recorded in Edo State.
According to him, “we urged all Journalists in the two states and elsewhere to read and digest the resource manual on Elections and Democratic Accountability and the Nigerian media code of Election coverage, both of which have also been published as part the implementation of component 4b: support to media of Eu-SD GN,
“The main duty of Journalists during Elections is to relay the information that citizens will require to make informed choice.
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