Ahead of Kogi State November 11 governorship election, the International Press Council (IPC) has trained 26 practising journalists in the state drawn from print, electronic and online media.
Lanre Arogundade, executive director, IPC, in his opening remark on Monday charged the journalists to give voices to a wide range of interests in the forthcoming November governorship election in the state, adding that the media training is to examine the media on how it would interface rightly in reporting balanced, free and fair activities and at the same time inform the masses not misinforming them.
The programme is being organised by the IPC, Lagos, lead implementing partners of Component 4 (support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EUSDGN 11) project in Abuja.
Arogundade also pointed out that the training for the media is aimed at ensuring a credible and peaceful conduct of the Kogi State Governorship Election, as he urged the media to make their agenda- setting role, take a lead in mobilising the electorate towards participating actively in the forthcoming November governorship election.
He also charged the media to be accountable to the public scrutiny, bring objectivity and professionalism in the course of discharging their duties, adding that the public needs to be enlightened on registration, voting processes and voting for the right candidate.
He equally urged the media to hold INEC accountable to deliver on credible Kogi election and charged the media to be balanced in their coverage and reportage, adding that they should document all necessary information about the governorship election for post election purposes, saying it is the duty of the media to inform the electorate on all activities relating to candidates, the processes in the forthcoming governorship election.
He said: “Report the political activities regarding the Kogi governorship election with universally accepted guidelines towards making the electorate have informed judgment, report of political activities should be on a daily basis ahead of the state governorship election.”
One of the resource persons Hamza Idris, editor, Daily Trust, who spoke on “Reporting elections, ensuring ethical conflict-sensitive coverage in the face of misinformation and disinformation, encouraged reporters in Kogi to remain in Kogi and report election, adding that “it is not possible that you will visit the three Senatorial District, if you allow yourself to be subdued, you will not have good governance.”
He said: “Ensure that you are adequately screened, by relevant authorities. Always visit the scene of any happening even if it is after three days to get facts the way it is. Enhance national unity and public good.”
Speaking also, Mufilait Fijabi of Nigerians Women Trust Fund, who was represented by Vaneza Gregory, NWTF, EU, Project Coordinator, who equally dwelt on ‘Gender issues and prospective in reporting the Kogi governorship election’ pointed out that ignoring Gender issues in the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi means ignoring sensitive part of the nation.
She said: “Break down barriers for women in politics; challenge traditional norms and biases. Give equal coverage to male and female candidates. Focus on policies rather than appearances.
“In Kogi election, there is a notable gap. It’s important that women are carried along in the forthcoming election. By inculcating gender sensitive issues in the forthcoming Kogi election; it will go a long way in putting to a stop all the gender challenges women in politics are experiencing.
“Historically, women have been pushed down from vying for any political election, but when you introduce gender nature in your reportage with time it will be a history. Women can’t continue to be only women leaders in political parties.”