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INEC, Others Begin Training Of Journalists On Safety Ahead of November 11 Off Season Elections

INEC, Others Begin Training Of Journalists On Safety Ahead of November 11 Off Season Elections

Princess-Ekwi Ajide  Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced training of journalists ahead of the off season elections in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo to curb fake news and disinformation.

The two days capacity building workshop for INEC Press on Ethical, Safety Practices and critical Issues Relating to the Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo Governorship Elections scheduled for November 11 2023, sponsored by the Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI) is ongoing in Akwanga, Nasarawa State.

In a keynote address, the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said, the essence is to deepen the participants’ knowledge of the Commission’s processes and procedures, which will go a long way in ensuring factual, balanced, and informed coverage of the commission’s activities.

The INEC Chairman, represented by the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Sam Olumekun, said the commission has modestly demonstrated its commitment, over time, to the professional development media practitioners, enabling them to be well equipped with the requisite knowledge to report electoral activities accurately

According to him, the Commission is conscious of the critical role of the media in the political and electoral process and believes that democracy will only grow and flourish through a free and vibrant media while a free and vibrant press is also obligated to adhere to professional and ethical standards.

A National Commissioner and Member, Information and  Voter Education Committee, Professor Kunle Ajayi, on his part, expressed worries on what he termed weaponization of Election-related disinformation and charged journalists to be objective in their reportage, avoid fake, inflammatory and sensational news.

Prof. Ajayi, noted that the Commission’s experience with fake news in the 2023 general election is an indication that, if not nipped in the bud, fake news may become the bane of election management in Nigeria saying that disinformation is used to provoke religious, political, and tribal sentiments in an already polarized society.

He advised that reporting on election matters, members of the 4th Estate of the realm must address issues with a deep sense of professionalism, journalistic ethics, and high standards adding that elections in Nigeria are consistent with periods of heightened media coverage and reporting with each political party striving to win the election so as to govern the country.

According to the representative of the Development Alternatives Incorporated, DAI, Rudolf Elbling, Nigerian Elections can be dangerous for journalists, tense and sometimes, violent campaigns or announcement of results can endanger those trying to report honestly and accurately, this according to the DAI Representative, is why it behoves the government to protect the physical security of everyone within its territory.

Earlier the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Nasarawa State, represented by Barrister Caroline Okpe, and the Chairman, INEC Press Corps, Segun Ojumu, had noted that accurate and unbiased reporting is vital to ensuring transparency, public trust, and the credibility of the electoral process hence it is essential that members of the INEC Press Corps are adequately equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfil their roles effectively.


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