BusinessDay

Editors resolve to ‘screen’ political aspirants ahead 2023

· Fact-checking to gain upper hand in newsrooms

Editors in Nigeria after going round Nigeria on zonal training and mobilisation series with the support of the US Embassy have resolved to assume a bigger responsibility in screening contestants ahead of 2023 election.

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) said at the end of the series in Port Harcourt that to defend democracy, would take the gauntlet by sifting from the array of aspirants angling for positions in order to ensure that the electorate is provided with credible information to make informed choices in the democratic process.

“Editors have resolved to assist in ensuring that frivolous and unserious candidates, as well as those who have not demonstrated any capacity for leadership, are weeded out from the race,” NGE said.

The Editors recalled how the press fought for return of democracy in 1999 and urged the press to ensure that the parties and their candidates are properly guided along issue-based campaigns.

The Editors noted that the media thrives better under a democratic rule.

The NGE led by Mustapha Isah (president) and Iyobosa Uwugiaren (general secretary), said amidst increasing misinformation, disinformation and deliberate falsehood in cyberspace, the editors should explore the use of fact-checking tools to verify stories as part of the process of erasing the credibility gap. There is need for the media to always use fact check tools to verify its stories.

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“No matter how reliable a source has been in the past, the media should always be circumspect about any disclosures from any sources by double checking the information,’’ he said.

Noting that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) can assist the media to deal with the problem of anonymity of sources, particularly when confronted with legal matters, the editors said that there is a need for the media to make more use of the Act as part of the move to instil greater credibility on its stories.

Arising from the conversations at the conferences in the six geo-political zones, the editors said that while regulation of media practice will accord media professionals greater respect than other groups, pandering to the antics of a government, which has consistently shown abrasive zeal to hamstrung the Nigerian media – to solely regulate the media, will be harmful to its survival.

“Editors agreed that the media should endeavour to regulate the professional practice and also ensure proper corporate governance on the part of the owners of media houses, in order to guarantee an adequate supply of working tools, better working environment and improvement in staff welfare,” the editors further added.

Editors commended the NGE leadership for ‘’lifting the bar of engagement’’ via the training workshop, which has not only enriched their knowledge but also created a platform for further social networking among members.

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