2019 Election NPC urges media to adhere to Electoral Act guidelines

The Executive Secretary of NPC, Mr Nnamdi Njemanze, made the call on Thursday at a workshop on “Responsible Media Coverage of Elections” organised by the council in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

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Nigerian Press Council (NPC) has urged media practitioners to adhere strictly to the guidelines of the Electoral Act in reporting political activities as preparations for the 2019 elections gather momentum.

The Executive Secretary of NPC, Mr Nnamdi Njemanze, made the call on Thursday at a workshop on “Responsible Media Coverage of Elections” organised by the council in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

He said the aim of the workshop was to sensitise journalists on how best to cover the electoral process to make the 2018 governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states, as well as the 2019 general elections a success.

He added that the Electoral Act had clearly spelt out guidelines for coverage and reportage of elections which must be obeyed by journalists to avoid overheating the polity.

Njemanze stressed the need for journalists to operate within the confines of the Code of Ethics of Journalism with a view to providing citizens the basis to make informed choices.

According to him, it is only when people are equipped with the right knowledge that they will be in position to make informed choices during elections.

The secretary, however, expressed concern over the problem of hate speech, which he said was fast becoming predominant feature in the content of media, both mainstream and online.

He added that “we at the council feel greatly concerned about the use of hate speech, as it has been identified as one of the causes of communal crises and disunity among Nigerians.

“We align with Federal Government’s posture to countering and discouraging the use of hate speech which characterised political campaigns in the country.

Njemanze expressed optimism that the workshop would proffer solutions that would curtail hate communication and enhance unity, common purpose, respect for one another and national development.

“This could be achieved through adherence to ethics and responsible journalism,” he said.

Mr James Sowole, Ondo State Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), urged media practitioners to ensure fairness and objectivity to avoid unethical practices in the profession.

Sowole also warned journalists against taking side in reporting political activities, adding that the media must be unbiased in reporting elections.

He commended the NPC for organising the workshop, saying there was no limit to knowledge journalists could gain because journalism was a dynamic profession.

Mr Emeka Nwosu, the Senior Special Assistant on Research to Deputy Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, said the media had critical role to play in ensuring free, fair and credible elections in the country.

He advised journalists covering elections to avoid publishing results until officially announced by INEC, saying “no media should publish elections result without INEC authentication.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 46 journalists drawn from the six states of the South-West are participating in the workshop. 

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