IPC unveils 2023 Revise Nigeria Media Code of Election Coverage, presents 2022 monitoring election reports

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By Joy Odor

The Executive Director of the International Press Center (IPC), Mr Lanre Arogundade has unveiled 2023 Revise Nigeria Media Code of Election Coverage to enhance the Nigerian media’s role in promoting democratic governance through fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive 2023 coverage of electoral processes and elections.

Arogundade enjoined on journalists to be guided by the Code to give equitable media coverage to all parties, to be professional and carry out social responsibility.

The Code, he informed, which obligates the government, the INEC, the political parties and the Civil Society to help provide the enabling environment for the media to perform its functions during elections have also been strengthened with the law enforcement and security agencies specifically tasked with the responsibility of taking seriously the protection of journalists covering elections.

The unveiling was held in Abuja on Tuesday at the stakeholders roundtable which the October and November 2022 reports on the Monitoring of Media Coverage was presented in pursuant to the aims and objectives of Component 4: Support to Media of EU-SDGNII project being implemented by IPC (lead partner) and the Institute for Media and Society (IMS).

According to him, the Code is necessary to guard against press restriction and attack experienced during elections.

He affirmed that the overall goal of the gamut of activities under the project including but not limited to capacity building for journalists on issue focussed, factually accurate and conflict-sensitive reporting of elections, capacity building for female candidates on strategic communications and media use.

Others, the IPC ED said, are engagements on countering disinformation and misinformation, are designed to ensure that journalists and their news mediums pay maximum attention to ethics, professionalism and inclusivity, saying, such help to facilitate credible elections, without which democracy cannot be consolidated.

Arogundade said the media should shun promoting hate-speech that could incite violence and always have in mind the school of conflict sensitivity while reporting.

“Although no journalist was killed on election day in 2019, about 250 journalists were molested across the country, including those who were accredited.

“Journalists get attacked while covering campaign activities, they get molested in the line of duty, even journalists accredited were still molested by security agencies.

“We are making appeal to the law enforcement or security agencies that what happened in 2019 should not repeat itself.

“If a journalist is accredited and is able to show evidence of accreditation and in addition to that the identity card of his organisation, any policeman or soldier on national duty should know that a journalist is not a busybody and therefore should not be molested in any way.

“So we are using this occasion to draw the attention of INEC, governments, security agencies and political parties to their responsibilities, if they want us to cover these elections effectively. Journalists have rights and they should be respected” he said.

IPC ED charged media employers to also provide security measures and gadgets and protective wears for their journalists during the 2023 elections.

Reviewing the 2023 Revise Nigeria Media Code of Election Coverage, Professor Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos stressed that IPC’s Media Monitoring Activity on 15 Print/Online Newspaper’s Reporting of the 2023 Electoral Process (October and November 2022) shows that inclusivity was poor in terms of reportage as reports were more urban centric.

She said those inclusivity reported was imbedded inside the newspaper rather than in the headline and called on journalists to give more searchlight to the unreached than the political class

 

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