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IPC Launches Revised Media Code Of Election Coverage

Ahead of the General Election, a Public Presentation of the Revised Edition 2022 of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage has been launched in Abuja, with a call on Journalists to uphold the ethics of the profession to deepen democracy
for national development.

A Public analysis, findings and results of 15 Print, Online Newspapers (10 prints + 5 Online) monitored by the International Press Center (IPC), on how they effectively reported the 2023 electoral processes within the space of October to November 2022 was also presented.

Executive Director, International Press Center, Mr Lanre Arogundade made the presentation in Abuja, at a “Stakeholders roundtable on monitoring report on coverage of 2023 electoral process & public presentation of Nigerian Media Code Of Election Coverage (revised edition 2022).

The Programme is funded by the European Union under the Project ” EU- Support To Democratic Governance In Nigeria (EU- SDGN) Component 4: Support To Media.”

Speaking On the imperatives of the Media Code Of Election Coverage, Mr Arogundade described Journalists as strategic partners in achieving credible elections, and urged them to brace up to be catalyst of transparent electoral processes that will entrench free,fair and peaceful elections, with maximum compliance to the regulatory frameworks.

Mr Arogundade also advised Journalists to be safety cautious while on the field, pay attention to electoral processes as it affects Persons With Disabilities, PWDs, Youths and Women, and
Fact- check stories to avoid cases of libel.

He hinted that IPC has a reward for Media Houses with outstanding performance on inclusive reportage during the elections.

Mr Arogundade who stressed the need for Journalists to give more preference to voter education towards ensuring that the citizens are properly informed to make the right choices, charged Media Owners to ensure their staff, especially reporters assigned to cover violent/ conflict prone areas.

Mr Arogundade appealed to INEC, States Electoral Bodies and Political Parties to give Journalists an enabling environment to project credible reporting of the electoral processes by providing them with timely information on their activities and the election timetables.

He also called on Government at all levels to protect Journalists and prepare to promptly investigate and prosecute any individual or group, accused of assault, harassment, or intimidation of Journalists during the electoral processes.

He specifically advocated synergy between the Security and the Media, with a passionate appeal to security agencies to allow any accredited Journalists with INEC tag, or their official identity cards to move freely towards achieving effective Coverage of the polls.

The 15 Print/ Online Newspapers monitored include The Punch, The Guardian, Daily Sun, Vanguard, ThisDay, Nigerian Tribune, The Nation, Leadership, Daily Trust, and Daily Independent.
The Five online media were: The Cable, the Premium Times, Eagle Online, RealNews and the Authority.

Also monitored were the News Portal (website) and the twitter handle of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Reviewing the outcomes of the 15 monitored media platforms by IPC, the First Female Professor, Department of Mass Communications, University of of Lagos, Prof. Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika commended IPC for the initiative and called for the involvement of more media houses.

Prof. Ogwezzy-Ndisika explained that the initiative would give practice direction and self evaluation to Journalists and media Organisations on what to focus on during elections that will enable their work make impact on strengthening democracy.

For inclusivity purposes, the Professor encouraged Journalists to go beyond giving visibility to just the 3 or 4 major political parties, and report others too, and try featuring from different angles and perspectives female candidates vying for various political positions.

The National President of NAWOJ, Comrade Ladi Bala, represented by Gloria Ohagwu solicited that more women Journalists be actively engaged to cover the elections.

The event which was well attended by Journalists has Vice President of North Central Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria, Dr Chido Onumah and the General Secretary, Nigeria Guild of Editors, Iyobosa Uwuagiren (PhD) as discussants on the ” perspectives on trends in media coverage of elections from the monitoring reports”.

By Remi Johnson,Edited by Grace Namiji

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