By: Kate Obi/Kaduna
The Director of International Press Centre (IPC) Mr. Lanre Arogundade has warned that for a political reporter to be a healthy heartbeat of political journalism and by extension, election reporting, he or she must have skills constantly honed, to disseminate information that adds value to the conduct of credible elections come 2019.
Mr. Arogundade who gave the warning in his welcome address during a two-day capacity building media workshop for political correspondents on the 17th to 18th October, 2018 at Grand Pela Hotel, Durunmi, Abuja said in the context of modern day journalism, the political reporter cannot afford not to be able to use data to disseminate sensible electoral information.
Represented by IPC Programme Manager, Mr Sanmi Falobi, the IPC Director continued to mention that the political reporter cannot afford not to factor the human and social element into election reporting, cannot afford not to be conflict sensitive or ignore the ethical and professional imperatives that underline good journalism.
He opined that by reporting politics day-to-day, covering the activities of the political parties, providing information to enable citizens make informed choices during elections, informing on the activities of the election management body, informing on outcomes of surveys and or opinion polls during campaigns, the political reporter is the heart beat of political journalism.
Mr. Arogundade expressed that the media workshop for 25 political correspondents across the North-West, North East including FCT Abuja is derives from the recognition of the important role that journalists on the political beat play in the dissemination of political information.
“In the next two days therefore, we shall seek to improve the skill of participants in the above areas and perhaps much more, through the following presentations by our eminent resource persons, to whom we are indeed grateful.
“Dr. Ruqqayah Aliyu will take us through Nigerian Elections and Conflict: Guiding against hate speech and being conflict sensitive in political reporting and the ethical and professional borderlines for the political correspondent in reporting elections in Nigeria.
“Mr. Taiwo Obe shall focus on covering the political space using digital tools and apps while Mr. Eze Onyekpere shall address integrating socio-economic and human index development data into political reporting ahead 2019 elections and Reckoning with accountability issues in election reporting.
“It is our expectation that the lead presentations will stimulate animating questions and discussions that will enable us attain the objectives of this workshop.
“In this regard, your active participation will be essential and it will be good if we avoid unwelcome distractions. Needless to say, you are a lucky few who have been selected out of hundreds of applicants.
“We will also expect to see, in the nearer future the evidence of the impact of this training on your reporting of the electoral process and the 2019 elections.
“Let me end by expressing the gratitude of the International Press Centre to the European Union whose funding support through the European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) has made this workshop possible” Mr. Arogundade ended.