By Josephine Oguntoyinbo
Media professionals in Ondo state have again been reminded on the need to uphold the tenets and ethics of journalism as the Ondo state gubernatorial election approaches.
Stakeholders in the country emphasised this at a day media stakeholders round table organised by the International Press Centre,(IPC) ,and the Institute for Media and Society,(IMS) ,held in Akure, the state capital.
The training with the theme: “Professional, Inclusive and Conflict Sensitive Reporting of the Ondo State Governorship Election,” was aimed at strengthening the media to provide a fair, accurate and ethical coverage of the electoral process in the state, as part of the Support to the media Component of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria ,(EU-SDGN)’s project.
The programme brought together reporters, editors, publishers, managers from the print, broadcast and online media and other media stakeholders in the state who were engaged around the theme during the session.
In their opening remarks, The Executive Director, IMS, Dr Akin Akingbulu and Senior Programme Manager, IPC, Mr Sanmi Falobi, noted that the event was aimed at deepening the role of the media in promoting professional and ethical reportage of electoral processes, including conflict sensitivity in media coverage and reportage of the Ondo state governorship election.
They posited that the roles of the media professionals in the electoral process cannot be overlooked, as they provide information and education before, during ,and after the process.
While adding that the success of the state election would further strengthen democracy in Nigeria, they charged media professionals and organisations to play their roles as expected.
Speaking on the topic,”Understanding and using the Nigeria media code of election coverage and the Ondo state governorship elections”, the Executive Director, IPC, Mr Lanre Arogundade stressed the need for media organizations to provide an equitable access to all parties contesting elections to present their manifestos and also ensure a balance reportage of the campaign process.
Presenting his paper through the Editor, Nigeria Democratic Report, Mr Ayo Aluko-Olokun,the IPC director averred that all, under represented groups such as women, youths, persons living with disabilities, among others should be given more attention to express their views through the media during elections.
According to him, it is the social responsibility of professional journalists to ensure fairness, accuracy and balance reportage, while the media organisations should also uphold the ethical codes of the profession which includes, preventing hate speech and incitement.
The HOD, Mass Communication Department, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, JABU, Ikeji-Arakeji, Prof. Tokunbo Adaja while taking the participants through a topic, “Towards professional, inclusive and conflict sensitivity reporting of the Ondo state election,” noted that the media should be conflict sensitive and make their reports all inclusive.
Also, a university don, Prof Ayo Ojebode from the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, who spoke on ,”Ensuring a fair reportage of the Ondo elections, “enumerated why journalists and media houses,as the watchdog of the society, should uphold the high standard of professionalism without compromising the process as a way of sustaining public confidence.
The training featured contributions and messages from media experts, and media associations, including the State Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr Adetona Aderoboye, who was represented by the Secretary, Prince Adeleke Adegbite and all focused on the need to adhere to the ethics of the profession.