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THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said that the media should play an active role in sensitising Nigerians on their democratic rights, duties and responsibilities. This is important to broaden the base and frontiers of the electoral process.
Realnews reports that this was the central message INEC officials delivered during an interactive meeting with the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP, in Lagos on Wednesday, November 24.
Themed “Strengthening INEC/Media partnership for the consolidation of free, fair and credible, and inclusive elections”, the meeting was organized by the commission in collaboration with the Institute for Media and Society, IMS, and International Press Centre, IPC.
Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, who expressed his gratitude for the support the media has given to the commission, however, solicited the help of online publishers in combating fake news.
Yakubu said that INEC has continued to enjoy a cordial relationship with the media but purveyors of fake news with their sympathizers whose aim is to undermine the country’s electoral system has taken advantage of the free social media space and sometimes the traditional media to advance their interests and spread falsehood.
The INEC chairman, however, urged journalists to thoroughly investigate news items, adding: “When allegations get to you, please thoroughly investigate. After all, one of the tenets of the journalism profession is, “Fairness and objectivity”. I, therefore, implore you to always balance your stories.”
Earlier, Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner, stated the need for free, fair, and credible elections to be viewed as shared responsibilities, adding: "This interactive session is part of the continuing strategic engagement of the commission with the media aimed at better understanding its processes and procedures, partnering with the media in sensitizing Nigerians on their democratic rights, duties, and responsibilities and generally broadening the base and frontiers of the electoral process."
Stating that INEC gives priority to the media as the fourth estate of the realm, Okoye said the commission recognises the constitutional role conferred on the media to educate the citizens and provide them with adequate and relevant information to uphold their citizenship of the Nigerian state.
“The commission, however, is of the view that there are some irreducible minimums to a meaningful relationship, partnership, and engagement with the media. The media must understand clearly the constitutional and legal mission and mandate of the commission both as an umpire and a regulator.
“Delivering on free, fair, peaceful, safe, and credible elections must be seen and viewed as a shared responsibility and partnership between agencies, commissions, and branches of government and in this multi-stakeholder venture no one should be left behind,” he said.
Sam Olumekun, INEC resident electoral commissioner, Lagos State, urged the citizenry to take advantage of the commission’s continuous voter registration exercise, adding that a credible voter register is the bedrock for free, fair, and credible elections.
- Nov. 25, 2021 @ 7:53 GMT |
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