IPC sets ethics and professionalism requirements for journalists ahead of Edo poll
3 mins read

IPC sets ethics and professionalism requirements for journalists ahead of Edo poll

Ahead of the Edo State gubernatorial election scheduled for September 21, 2024, journalists and media workers have been urged to prioritize ethics and professionalism as mechanisms to ensure credible and fair elections.

They also reiterated that journalists should avoid non-violent reporting, disinformation and misinformation, an accusation made during a media dialogue and stakeholder meeting convened by the International Press Centre (IPC).

IPC Executive Director Lanre Arogundade warned journalists against reporting bias and sentiment, and urged them to avoid favoritism.

He also suggested that media professionals need to shape their narratives around credible reporting and challenge claims made by politicians during the campaign.

He added that journalists needed to ask what politicians intended to do if elected, what their track record in government had been and what the shortcomings of their opponents were.

He then tasked the media with verifying the authenticity and merit of politicians’ claims by working with other stakeholders, including voters, NGOs and other media representatives, to identify issues of relevance to the electorate.

In a similar vein, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) Director Nnimmo Bassey said that every election is about people and the media is expected to dictate candidates’ plans to adapt their policies to the needs of the people.

However, he criticised the reluctance of politicians to constantly talk about their manifestos, claiming that it has become a common phenomenon among them.

Speaking further, he added that it is the duty of journalists to direct those seeking political office and those in office to jointly challenge them in order to ensure credible elections and the shared enjoyment of the benefits of democracy.

For him, “elections are about the people, that’s why it’s so important who gets a seat in the State House. The gubernatorial candidates don’t talk about their manifestos, that’s why there’s no difference between them. It’s the responsibility of journalists to hold them accountable for what they do. What we do in our units has a greater impact on the outcome of the elections in the state.”

Bassey, who is also an environmentalist, condemned the government’s failure to prioritise environmental issues, noting that journalists are expected to motivate them in this regard as it is crucial for the sustainability of governance and good leadership.

During a session on newsroom scenarios, brainstorming, stories to tell, how to tell them, and digital tools and apps for storytelling, the director of the Journalism Clinic, Taiwo Obe, encouraged journalists to learn about their surroundings, adding that this will improve the quality of their reporting choices.

He also encouraged participants to continue to improve their questioning skills when interacting with public officials in the context of the promises they make to the public, noting that seeking the public interest must be part of the questions we ask them.

He advised, “What journalists know determines what they report, knowledge is the first thing every journalist must have. Questions are essential to everything. Journalists are expected to ask urgent questions and know the key factors that determine choices, and the best approach is to know the available tools for best practices.”

Obe also showed journalists how to create engaging newsrooms. Participants were divided into different newsrooms to generate potential questions that journalists could use during the election.

IPC is implementing Component 4: Media Support of the European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EUSDGNII) project, funded by the European Union.