Do not overheat polity with fake news, NUJ president warns
As 2023 general elections draw close, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, yesterday, warned journalists not to overheat the polity by disseminating fake news. Isiguzo stressed that such news may throw the country into chaos.
He stated this in Enugu State during an ongoing two-day capacity building for journalists and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in South East on ‘Conflict-sensitive Reporting, 2023 General Elections and Countering Fake News,’ organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in collaboration with NUJ and Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).
Isiguzo, represented by the National President of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Ladi Bala, while calling for peaceful polls, tasked journalists to always crosscheck their facts before disseminating information.
He noted that every region in the country is battling with one crisis or the other, and called on journalists to be cautious of their reportage to ensure they don’t worsen the situation.
He said: “The current candidates of political parties are reflective of the fact that the Nigerian society, today, is divided along different lines – religious and ethnic.
“The society expects journalists to right all wrongs out there. And how best have journalists prepared themselves to address challenges confronting the 2023 general elections?”
Speaking on behalf of INEC, the Head of Legal Unit of the Commission, Enugu, Humphrey Okoli, reassured Nigerians of credible 2023 polls, vowing that INEC must adhere strictly to electoral guidelines to ensure free, fair and credible polls.
The Commission noted that its activities have been reformed and digitalised, adding that incident forms will not be used anywhere during the general elections.
Okoli added: “The issue of incident forms does not arise, because it will not be used anywhere in the 2023 general elections. Accreditation is going to be by Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS).
“INEC cannot go contrary to the Electoral Act 2022 and guidelines, no matter what happens.
“The law must back whatever we are doing. So, if you suspect any foul play, you can initiate a proceeding in court, if you have the resources.”