As bye-elections holds in Lagos East Senatorial and Kosofe Constituency II House of Assembly, on Saturday, the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos- Nigeria has tasked the journalists and other media professionals who would be on duty to adhere to professional standards while also being safety conscious.
The bye elections are scheduled to hold across the five local council Areas of Somolu, Kosofe, Ikorodu, Epe and Ibeju-Lekki.
The Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said the admonition had become necessary in the light of the critical role that the media plays during electioneering processes and growing concerns over journalists’ safety across the country.
“Though this election is not a state-wide election, it does not reduce the fact that it still falls under the purview of media electoral responsibility. For the contestants and their gladiators, it is an election, which is by no means of less value than any other election, so the atmosphere within the five councils where the elections will take place will reflect basic and essential activities associated with the conduct of an election. It is therefore very important for journalists covering the bye-elections to be guided by the existing ethics of professional coverage of elections as well as to be safety conscious in the discharge of their duties, especially to avoid situations that will put them in harm’s way”, Mr. Arogundade said.
“Like in the coverage of any electoral contest, Journalists are expected to be non-partisan. They are to maintain objectivity and balance in the coverage of the elections. Being partisan is not only about being a member of a political party, but also includes the use of expressions and/or impressions with statements, tags, symbols and colours that portray or identify with a particular political party or personality”, Arogundade added.
He also admonished journalists covering the bye-election to be well kitted.
“This is an election taking place across five councils. Journalists who are to cover the elections should ensure that they are fully kitted and accredited to do so, in order to avoid situation wherein security agencies would have to question them or bar them from performing their duties. Journalists, who are not on election duty, should avoid straying into the identified local councils at will during the stipulated period of the election. At all times, journalists covering the bye –elections must have their identification card and press/media tag clearly displayed to avoid undue harassment and unnecessary identity checks by the security agencies.” Arogundade added.
He also enjoined, other stakeholders, especially the security agencies to undertake the performance of their tasks in a civil and responsible manner.
“The security forces should note that the media is a critical part of the electoral process and so the journalists should be accorded due rights and privileges to enable them carry out their social obligations as partners in enshrining the credibility of the electoral process. The media should be seen as partners in progress and not as adversaries”, Arogundade added.
Program Officer/ Safety Alert Officer IPC