Communiqué of a 2-Day South-West Media Workshop on Election Reporting

Communiqué of a 2-Day South-West Media Workshop on Election Reporting

INTRODUCTION The two-day workshop was held as part of the project titled: Media Capacity Building, Mentoring and Monitoring for Conflict-Sensitive, Public-Issue and ICT-Driven Reporting of 2015. The project is being implemented by the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria with the funding support of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Development (DGD 111)

Speakers at the workshop.

Speakers at the workshop.

INTRODUCTION

The two-day workshop was held as part of the project titled: Media Capacity Building, Mentoring and Monitoring for Conflict-Sensitive, Public-Issue and ICT-Driven Reporting of 2015.

The project is being implemented by the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria with the funding support of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Development (DGD 111) programme and its partners including the European Union (EU), UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

The workshop had in attendance thirty male and female broadcast and print journalists, who report political and electoral issues. The participants will also be involved in the reporting of the 2015 elections.

In line with its objectives, the workshop featured presentations, practical discussions and interactive sessions on the germane issues of conflict sensitive, public interest and gender supportive reporting of the 2015 elections.

The topics addressed by the Resource persons include: “Media coverage of Ekiti & Osun elections: Observations, Lessons & Recommendations for future elections” by Dr. Bisi Olawunmi, Dept of Mass Communication, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State; “Promoting gender (women concerns) as a public interest issue in the electoral process and elections” by Mrs. Funke Treasure-Durodola, General Manager, Radio One, FRCN, Ikoyi-Lagos; and “Conflict and ethical transformation responsibilities of the media in elections by Mr. Lanre Arogundade, Director,  International Press Centre, IPC, Lagos.

The workshop also featured a stories clinic session during which participants presented the election stories they plan to work on using the knowledge gained in the course of the workshop.

The following emerged from the presentations and plenary sessions:

OBSERVATIONS

Participants observed that:

  • While the media robustly reported the Ekiti elections, there were noticeable instances of undue sensationalism especially in the choice of headlines and the language deployed by some columnists;
  • Gaps and inadequacies continue to exist in media reporting of elections in general as politicians and political gladiators are subtly becoming the agenda setters through the clever use of press conferences, press releases and press statements;
  • Some sections of the media are unconsciously becoming partisan tools in the hands of politicians, thus the tendency for one-sided reporting, advancement of political acrimonies and under-reporting of real issues;
  • As seen in the Ekiti and Osun elections, the media still does not take seriously the documentation of campaign promises, which is necessary for future interrogation on fulfillment of campaign promises;
  • Either as subjects of reports or issues in reports, the media is not doing enough to advance gender concerns, women issues and the challenges of female aspirants and or candidates during elections;
  • As happened during the Ekiti and Osun elections, journalists continue to be subjected to unwarranted assault and harassment by security and political agents in the course of the lawful performance of their electoral duties with journalists working for news mediums whose proprietors have partisan interests particularly endangered;
  • The quality and credibility of media coverage of elections are direct functions of the professional capacity, ethical awareness and knowledge of institutional frameworks for media conduct by Reporters and Editors.
  • Journalists have become caught in the web of political conflict and therefore there is a need for increased capacity knowledge, adequate welfare package, and the protection for journalists in reporting elections.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

The workshop recommended as follows:

For Reporters, Editors, Media Managers & Owners

  • Reporters should stop surrendering the agenda-setting function to politicians and the political parties and other influence peddlers by being more discerning in the coverage of and reporting of elections; not every statement, claim or accusation by politicians should be headline news;
  • Journalists should hold as sacrosanct the need to be conflict sensitive in reporting the elections especially as the Nation is going through a period of  violent conflicts that could mar elections if escalated;
  • Journalists should accord priority to professional self-development and avail themselves to research and knowledge building opportunities to enhance elections reportage.
  • Political Reporters and Editors, as well as all other categories of journalists should make it a cardinal responsibility to be gender-supportive during elections; Political Reporters and Editors in particular should embrace an editorial policy that enables the recognition of women as important news sources during elections and the right of women aspirants and candidates to be heard through the media;
  • Reporters and other editorial staff should embrace social science approach of seeking information and be conflict sensitive and not just follow trend so as not to be vulnerable to media manipulators and publicists;
  • Political reporters and other categories of journalist covering elections should imbibe safety consciousness especially in conflict prone and hostile environments;
  • Political reporters and other categories of journalist covering elections should have sufficient pre-election information of coverage environment and at all times have sufficient call credit, identification tags and other necessary documentation for election coverage reporting;
  • Journalists should ensure they are not too attached to parties or candidates in an election so as not to make them vulnerable to mob attack, assault or injury in the event of a break out of conflict;
  • Journalists covering elections should not hesitate to report acts of intimidation or possible sense of danger or harm likely to be directed at them during elections.

For Media organizations and bodies

  • The Nigerian media should not abdicate it agenda setting roles to politicians and so should undertake issues-based, knowledge based and public-driven reportage of elections;
  • Media organizations should adequately empower their staff with the required resources to enable them effective carry out their obligations during elections;
  • Media organizations should openly affirm their commitment to ethical values and principles in political and election reporting;
  • Media organizations should incorporate gender mainstreaming into their editorial policy on political and election reporting;
  • Media organizations should provide adequate modern ICT facilities and other needed resources for the effective reporting of the political and electoral processes;
  • Media organizations should commit themselves to the welfare of their employees by regularly paying reasonable salaries; they should in particular establish special funds for the coverage of elections instead of allowing politicians to pay for journalists covering their activities;
  • Media organizations and professional bodies should take necessary actions tin defence of journalists who come under attack or intimidation in the course of election reporting;
  • The Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) and the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria should make it mandatory for media organizations to maintain virile Quality Control Units to check any embarrassing shoddiness in media content which could impact negatively on media image.

The participants expressed gratitude to the organizers and particularly the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Development (DGD III) programme for supporting the workshop.

Participants and speakers at the workshop.

Cross section of participants at the workshop.

Cross section of participants at the workshop.

Additional Papers Presented:

Review of Media Reportage of the Ekiti and Osun 2014 Governorship Elections [wpdm_file id=15]

Promoting Gender as a Public Interest Issue in the Electoral Process and Elections [wpdm_file id=16]

Reporting Elections in the context of Conflict and Public Sensitivity [wpdm_file id=17]

ndrreporter
ADMINISTRATOR
PROFILE

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos