Stakeholders task media on fair election coverage
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, stakeholders have tasked the media with fair election coverage and agenda-setting for a peaceful exercise.
Speaking at a workshop organised by Taipei Trade office in Nigeria at the weekend, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State, Olusegun Agbaje, reminded journalists of the need to shun corruption and image smearing.
Represented by Mrs. Adenike Tadese, he noted: “As a watchdog, you should be able to point out flaws in the system or process and consequently come forward with a pragmatic and plausible alternative, not necessarily to criticise, this is the least of your duty. The criticism must be constructive and point the way forward.
“It, therefore, follows that for a watchdog to be effective in its duty, it must clean itself, shun corruption and avoid any form of smear and smudge. This is probably the first role the media must play to guarantee free and fair elections in 2023.”
Agbaje charged the media to do soul-searching to ensure it does become an appendage of political parties or worse still, usurp functions of the electorate.
He continued: “The media, in its pursuit to ensure that the rule of law prevails, must not in, itself, become lawless.”
The REC observed that INEC had introduced some innovations to positively impact the media as far as the 2023 general elections are concerned.
Some of the fresh initiatives, he pointed out, include the INEC Result Viewing portal (IREV), Collation Support and Results Verification System (CSRVS), Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED).
In addressing election security, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for Lagos command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said the role of the force was to provide safety.
His words: “Security is one thing we won’t take lightly and we have established a strong partnership with INEC on the success of the 2023 general elections.”
In her remarks, Vice Chairman, of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Lagos State Council, Mrs. Abiola Beckley, said the body and other stakeholders were working to ensure that the code of conduct was adhered to.
“We are looking at a way by which we can incorporate the online media (social media) into the mainstream so that we can track what they are doing and curb fake news because fake news isn’t carried by the mainstream media, it’s from the online,” she observed.
Beckley hinted that a committee would be set up to sanction violators from both divides.