Be mindful of reporting electoral events in 2019, INEC advises journalists

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has advised the media to be mindful of its reportage of electoral events during the 2019 general elections.

The commission Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the plea at an event “Agenda for the Nigerian Guild of Editors’ Retreat’’ organised by the U.S. Mission Nigeria-Public Affairs Section in Lagos.

Yakubu, represented by Mr Sam Olumekun, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC in Lagos, said that this would have “a great effect on facilitating credible elections and corresponding social order’’.

According to him, it is important to observe that in the previous elections, the report of the media on electoral process has high degree of superficiality.

“Some reports on the process were not properly investigated, and some basics facts were glossed over,’’ INEC chief said.

He said that as stakeholders in the electoral system, the media was expected to maintain a high level of sustainability in the coverage of all electoral activities to ensure that records and facts were not distorted.

“We expect the media, being a veritable tool for information disseminating, to ensure that they apply a professional acumen to their reports so as not to leave prospective voters helpless and confused due to distorted information.

“The 2019 General Elections demands that reportage of the process meets the prime concern of media coverage of elections which entails the right of voters to full and accurate information and also their rights to participate in debates and dialogue on political matters.

“Inherent to this task is the entitlement of parties to use the media as platform for interaction with the public,’’ Yakubu said.

The INEC chief, however, advised the media to resist the temptation of being used to fan the embers of ethno-religious crisis prevalent in nascent democracy.

He also urged the media to give prominence to bringing out voters through adequate sensitisation of the citizens.

The Chairman of Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh, expressed concerns over the role of social media and the phenomenon of fake news in the nation’s media landscape.

Momoh, who spoke on “What the Future Hold for The Media’’, said that creative ideas could be transformed into innovative media products.

“The subject matter at this retreat is so appropriate. What does the future hold for the Nigerian Media?

“How do we transform creative ideas into innovative media products? How do we leverage international partnerships for profitability?

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