The International Press Centre (IPC) organized Webinar Seminar session tagged, “”PROFESSIONAL, FACTUAL, CONFLICT SENSITIVE AND SAFETY- CONSCIOUS REPORTING’ OF THE ONDO STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION” for members of the press from the print, broadcast and online media on Tuesday, August 11, 2020.
The objective of the Webinar, according to the organizer of the program, IPC under leadership of its Director, Mr Lanre Arogundade is aimed for,
“capacity building session… at consolidating efforts by INEC and other electoral stakeholders under the EU-SDGN project to ensure that the media coverage of the Ondo and Edo State elections is professionally reported.”
The Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian Newspapers, Mr Martins Oloja was among earliest speakers who spoke about the roles the journalist should play in the discharge of their duties
According to him,
“Journalism is a constitutional responsibility that was enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.”
Oloja went to the memory lane on the Ondo State political crises in 1983, how it was ignited by a section of the media in which prominent people were killed and many properties were destroyed.
He said Ondo State is the centre of conflict where we must be careful and make sure that our news coverage is factual and accurate.
The issue of blackout in Ondo South Senatorial District comprising Ilaje, Akpoi, Ikaleland and so on for over 10 years have to be examined without being biased. How far has the incumbent governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu gone to restore electricity in these areas? “What has happened before Aketi came in and now. We should bring out facts, evidence for people to be educated. We are to provide facts about the situations on the ground.”
According to him, abiding by the Electoral Code is a must for every journalist. We should be able to gather facts about the state of salary payments,”are they regular now?”
“Bring out facts about the current governor who is contesting with other contestants for the electorates to decide.”
Another speaker David Ajikobi talked beamed his searchlight on facts checking, that is, checking the accuracy of news before releasing it to the public.
Why fact check? He asked,
He said fact check is necessary to avoid inaccurate reporting and fake news.
The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) was represented by its Chief Press Secretary, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi who assured everyone that INEC will conduct free, fair and credible election in Ondo State. He promised full cooperation of the electoral body with the members of the press before, during and after the election.