By Joy Odor
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on journalists to be more diligent, accurate and factual when reporting on the electoral process.
The Commission pointed out the dangers inherent in relying on second hand news sources and stressed that it is unhealthy to the electoral process and the country’s democratic process.
The Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Barrister Festus Okoye Esq, made the call at a one-day training for Journalists organised by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and Journalism & Development Seminars Initiative (JADESeminar), with the theme: “Understanding the responsibility of the Journalist in the Electoral Process”, in Abuja, on Thursday.
Represented by the Deputy Director, Publicity, Mr Chukwuemeka Ugboaja, Barrister Okoye underscored the important role of the media in the successful conduct of elections, however decried the lazy attitude of some journalists in recent times.
He said some reporters these days don’t cover events and make proper enquires on news, they just copy and paste inaccurate news which is not healthy in the dissemination of news in the electoral process.
The IVEC Chairman commended the Media for its immense contribution to deepening democracy in Nigeria.
He said INEC remains grateful to the Media for the critical role it plays towards the success of our election.
“We at the Commission do not take the Media and its work for granted. That is why it is one of the critical stakeholders we engage with regularly, and are grateful for the observations, criticisms and recommendations you make, continues to influence our decisions towards improving the electoral process”.
National Commissioner Okoye also reaffirmed the Commission’s commitment towards operating an open door policy to members of the press.
He said INEC remained accessible to the press anytime and anywhere.
“We have been open with our plans, processes and procedures in previous elections, and we remain committed to that openness in future elections”, he assured.
“The Commission has undergone a transition of transparency where the Media can freely access information from the Commission and this will increase as we draw closer to 2023 General Elections”, the IVEC Chairman added.
Barrister Okoye tasked journalists to equip themselves knowledgeably and understand the content of Electoral Act (2022) and other legal instruments guiding the processes and procedures. He stressed that the knowledge will aide and assist the journalists in reporting the Commissions activities and issues in the electoral process fairly and accurately.