COMMUNIQUE OF THE TWO DAY CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP ON RESPONSIBLE MEDIA COVERAGE OF ELECTIONS ORGANISED BY THE NIGERIAN PRESS COUNCIL FACILITATED BY HAMMERSMITH CONSULT LIMITED FROM THURSDAY APRIL 19 – FRIDAY APRIL 20 2018 AT SOLTON HOTEL, AKURE, ONDO STATES

INTRODUCTION:

The workshop is aimed at building capacity of Journalists to cover and report election matters responsibly for national development especially as the country approaches another general election next year.

To achieve this, the workshop papers focused on the need for balanced reportage, upholding the ethics of Journalism and how to avoid the pitfalls of hate speech.

In all fifty two persons attended the workshop, thirty six of whom are Journalists drawn from the print, broadcast and online platforms.

OBSERVATIONS:

Consequent on rigorous sessions and robust participations from of participants the workshop observes as follows:

  1. Election periods are usually full of tensions as political parties try to win at all cost thereby creating unnecessary tensions and overheating the polity.
  2. Politicians have always seen the media as a tool to be manipulated in their advantage and would do anything to compromise the media.
  3. The workshop also observes that politicians have made incursions into the rank and file of media professionals especially Journalists who have been made vulnerable because of poor welfare, salary, ownership challenges and other anti-social chauvinism of ethnicity and religion.
  4. It observed that by this training, the Nigerian Press Council has delivered on its mandate of training of Journalists. However, the Council has not set the minimum standard of welfare for Journalists to reduce their vulnerability in the hands of politicians.
  5. Some Journalists are yet to be abreast of the new media which would come handy when covering elections.
  6. The workshop objects to the attempt to have a separate law to regulate the social media and hate speech because existing laws if enforced will take care of their excesses.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  1. Media owners should conduct their businesses in such a manner that will engender national development devoid of ethnic, religious and social biases.
  2. Media owners should ensure prompt payment of salaries and allowances of their staff and enhanced their welfare in order to reduce their vulnerabilities.
  3. The media should place priority on voter education and political mobilization to achieve free, fair and credible elections at all time.
  4. The media should always apply their ethics and the principles of balanced reporting during coverage of elections.
  5. The Nigerian Press Council should set a minimum standard of welfare for Journalists in public and private practice and sponsor a bill to this effect.
  6. Journalists should avoid unnecessary use of adjectives and promotion of hate speech that could overheat the polity.
  7. Journalists should arm themselves with the code of ethics of their profession and the constitution of the NUJ to guide them in their reportage.
  8. The workshop recommends that INEC should provide reflective jackets with PRESS written boldly on it for all accredited journalists on election duty.
  9. The workshop recommends that government criminalize the owing of salaries of media professionals to improve the quality of coverage of elections and the prosecution of fake Journalists who are apprehended during elections.
  10. It also urged the electorates to volunteer information to the media on any act on the part of politicians, their parties, security agencies or any individual or organization that could compromise the integrity of elections.

APPRECIATION:

The workshop commended the NPC for the training, the representative of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo state, Mr. Tope Aino who declared the workshop open, the resource persons, Mr. Sola Imoru, Dr. Gbenga Abimbola, Mr. Adegbenro Adebanjo and Professor Bayo Aborishade and members of the communiqué drafting committee consisting of Mr. Fabian Anawo of the Lagos Council of the NUJ, Mr. Jamiu Olawunmi of the Osun state Council of the NUJ, Mrs. Sola Omotosho of the Ondo state Council of the NUJ, Uchechi Emmanuel and Augusta Anajemba both of the Nigerian Press Council.

 

NNAMDI NJEMANZE                                                      JAMES SOWOLE

Executive Secretary                                                        Chairman NUJ, Ondo state

Nigerian Press Council

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