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‘Media should not tilt towards any political party as election draws nearer’

By Adeyemi Adepetun
24 January 2023   |   1:45 am
Ahead of 2023 general elections, the Nigerian media have been tasked on the need to ensure unbiased and unblemished reportage of the electioneering processes before, during and after the polls.

2023 Elections.

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Ahead of 2023 general elections, the Nigerian media have been tasked on the need to ensure unbiased and unblemished reportage of the electioneering processes before, during and after the polls.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Control TV, Gimba Umar, who also urged the media not to tilt into providing coverage for one political party at the expense of others, gave this charge.

Speaking on the theme: “Leveraging on the ethics of reporting ahead of the 2023 general elections,” at a briefing in Lagos, Umar said the media should see the critical situation Nigeria is faced with as the four leading political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) jostle for the number one seat in the country. “As media men, we must resist the ultimate temptation to be cowed, forcing us to tilt towards one party against the other; and denying the Nigerian people the right to know the truth. We must act with the mind-set of the huge and enormous task we have signed up for.

“Having said this, the onus now lies on us to ensure that professionalism is displayed and exemplified in our reporting of the 2023 general elections; for it is this period that the true test of the media shall come to bear,” he stated.

Umar said the media is one of the sectors that stand a chance to be celebrated or criticised at the end of the day, and advised the broadcast media to adhere strictly to the ethics of the profession.

“The broadcasting ethics are, not new to us when it comes to reports in our respective organisations with their in-house styles. To serve a refresher, which goes over and above any in-house style are the five Ws and H that stands as a guide for the delivery of unblemished professional reporting.

“ Once a reporter is able to accomplish the five Ws and H, then he or she would have not only informed Nigerians accurately, but also prevented what may have been a situation tending towards chaos. I believe we are aware of the devastating effects of fake news, no wonder masses always fall back on the reputable ones as the platforms for truth,” he said.

According to him, the common denominator of codes is a professed loyalty to truth and accuracy and a concern for fairness and good taste, saying that the media performs a watch dog role for citizens by scrutinising and reporting on the recital concentration of power of which the government is the most important player.

“As news men, we must see and report what we see away from what is fast becoming a copycat situation where one media house or reporter picks up a story from the web and copies word for word the same report and publishes it. We must strive to be original, factual and well researched to deliver our stories accurately,” he stated.

For instance, he said the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) must be given equal media reportage to the candidate of other political parties. “This is a critical back-end influence of the outcomes of election, which the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) frowns at. Sadly, it has become increasingly difficult to divorce some media organisations taking sides with political parties. This is perhaps the biggest bane and disservice to the Nigerian people. Skewed reports are no longer in fashion globally and the Nigerian press must not be left behind,” he said.

Speaking on the progress made so far by Control TV, Umar said the platform is primarily focused on television and online digital broadcasting of news and information, with particular focus on propagating the development of the socio-political, cultural and environmental fabric in Nigeria and on the continent.

With Bureaus in five states including Lagos, Kano, Ekiti, Osun, Rivers and the FCT, Umar said the firm was set to deliver programmes that are youth centric in its bouquet that captures interests of the youth, women and children. With Platforms currently on the social media space, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked-In, Tiktok and with the recent acquisition of our radio licence, while talks have been concluded to get on the Start Times Platform.

He assured that the 2023 elections would have a robust coverage across the country in no less than 19 states through Control TV and Radio.

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