As much as we love the Yuletide season holidays, A decision which cannot be ignored will be made. Nigerians will once again return to polling booths to decide who will preside over the affairs of the nation in less than 56 days to the February 2019 elections. All thanks to INEC who have officially announced collection of permanent voters card for those who haven’t gotten theirs.
Director of International Press Centre Lanre Arogundade, said in his opening remark that the event is organized to critically examine the interconnections between the public, the media and elections towards developing an agenda that seeks to strengthen the role of the media in facilitating a credible electoral process.
Also it is to bring to the front burners the prerequisite to hone the skills of journalists in the professional and ethical reportage of democratic processes and elections as well as commit to professional, conflict sensitive, citizen focused, gender focused and digital reporting of the 2019 elections.
The media has a critical agenda setting role to support the integrity and credibility of elections. Not only must they take a lead role in ensuring that citizens are adequately mobilized, but they should also ensure that the entire process is open to public scrutiny and it is expected that the training will help participants to understand and imbibe the principles of fairness, diversity and objectivity in reporting the electoral process and the elections Mr Arogundade said.
It is in a bid to dot every I’s and cross all T’s concerning credible election coverage that Nigeria’s media resource organization- The International Press Centre (IPC) organized training workshops for 40 out of 200 journalists who sent in their applications. This year’s theme was tagged ”Best Practices and Professional Reporting of the Electoral Process.
The workshop which held from the 20th- 21st December 2018 at the Ideal Nest Hotels, Osogbo, Nigeria and financed through the EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) project aims to build a media that can hold politicians accountable, promote free and fair elections and good governance.
Speaking with Guardian’s Mwantok Margaret on what she benefited from the event, she said she learnt a lot and also had fun.
While Ebunoluwa Olafusi from The Cable said the lectures were highly educative and informing but there is room for improvement.
Some of the facilitators of the program include Muyiwa Popoola: a Journalism professor with the Ajayi Crowther University Oyo, Taiwo Obe – Journalism Clinic boss and David Ajikobi Head, Afrika Check in Nigeria.
In his speech, Prof Popoola stated that journalists should adhere to professional ethics, use conflict sensitive reporting, research, fairness, balancing and adequate investigation to help minimize conflict and manage hate speeches from escalating in election reports and other stories.
David Ajikobi showed participants how to use fact checking toolz to ensure credibility in government while Taiwo Obe used digital media to expose relentless opportunities that can be harnessed by journalists and also provide answers to questions people are asking.