Nigerian media have been advised to give equitable coverage of electoral process of political parties and under represented candidates in the pre, voting and post election period.
The charge came from a media support group, the International Press Centre, IPC in Lagos on Wednesday during the public presentation of the 2nd quarterly report and media Stakeholders’ Roundtable on the coverage of the 2019 Electoral Process.
The group observed that the lapses in the trends of reportage of the 2019 Electoral process during its monitoring of 12 print and online newspapers is an indices that the media need to do more especially as Nigeria goes to the poll on Saturday.
While reviewing the report with journalists, Mr. Richard Akinnola, Executive Director, Centre for Free Speech said the media can do better than its present focus on larger parties.
He said further that media concentration of prominent parties could be detrimental if the tide is not changed.
In addition, he urged that the media should engage female politicians on issues that are germane to national development to forestall gender imbalance.
Mr. Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director, IPC while illustrating to journalists the outcome of IPC’s findings with an infographics, submitted that the monitored media outlets and others not covered should continue to strive to abide with the provisions of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage and some other relevant frameworks including the Electoral Act obligating them.
He urged journalists to give equitable access to parties, candidate and underrepresented group.
He charged them to be socially responsible, be ethical and avoid hate speech and be conflict sensitive.
He also tasked the monitored media outlets and others to be more gender sensitive in the choice of language when reporting women candidates or their issues.
According to him, the public presentation of the 2nd quarterly report and media Stakeholders’ Roundtable on the coverage of the 2019 Electoral Process is a project of IPC with the support of European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria, EU-SDGN, Project, in order to strengthen the media to provide fair, accurate and ethical coverage of the electoral process in Nigeria.
Meanwhile some stakeholders expressed concerns in the discharge of their duties and possible solutions were highlighted to address issues facing the media with a view to perform their watchdog role as provided for in Section 22 of the 1999 constitution.
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