The International Press Council (IPC), Lagos, with the EU-Support to Democratic governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN 11), Component 4: support to media, has in a two-day Media Roundtable/Engagement on the off-cycle Imo November 11, 2023 governorship election, urged media practitioners to exhibit strict professionalism before, during and after the election in their reportage.
In his opening remarks, Lanre Arogundade, executive director, International Press Council (IPC), said the event was organised to examine the interconnections between the public, the media and elections towards developing an agenda that seeks to strengthen the role of the media in facilitating a credible electoral process.
He said that journalists have an agenda setting role to support the integrity and credibility of elections, and that they do not only take a lead role in ensuring that citizens are adequately mobilised, rather, they should also ensure that the entire process is open to public scrutiny.
“The thrust of our submissions would be that we bring the required professionalism and inclusivity to bear on the coverage and reportage of the on-going electoral process in the state in order to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deliver on free, fair, peaceful and credible Imo governorship elections come November 11, 2023.
“Doing the above will require that we do not only focus on the campaigns and of course the legal battles of the gubernatorial gladiators, but that we also provide appropriate education for the voters so that they can be well enlightened on the electoral and campaign issues, the candidates and their programmes and the voting processes,” he said.
He stated the importance of documenting the campaign promises of the candidates, so that after the elections, those who emerged as winners would he held accountable to their promises in line with the obligation of democratic accountability.
The two-day media roundtable/engagement on Imo governorship election, he noted, would enable the participants to brainstorm and exchange ideas on how best to effectively play the role expected of the media in the electoral and democratic process universally agreed, and they are that the media should.
And that is to relay the information citizens require to enable them to make informed judgments, monitor government and others and reveal abuses of political power, report politics day-to-day as well as during election campaigns, provide information about registration and voting, give a voice to wide a range of interest groups etc.
Some of the resource persons include, Angela Agoawike who is the CEO of Omalicha Radio Station, Owerri; Ayo Aluko-Olukun, Taiwo Obe, founder of Journalism Clinic, Akin Akingbolu, executive director, Centre for Media & Society (CEMESO).