By Lizzy Okoji
Abuja, – Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), a German Political Foundation, on Tuesday in Abuja trained some Nigerian journalists on professionalism to ensure credible and factual reporting of the 2023 general elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the one-day training themed, “The Role of the Media in the General Elections 2023,” was organised by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), with support from KAS.
The training focused on “fact-Checking and Safety of Journalists During the 2023 Elections.”
Ms Marija Peran, Resident Representative, KAS, Nigeria, said the foundation was keen on strengthening democracy across the globe, and that the training was important to build the capacity of journalists towards sustaining democracy.
Peran said the 2023 General Elections 2023 was critical to Nigeria’s democracy and would determine the future of Nigeria, hence a functioning media coverage was also critical.
She urged journalists to stick to the ethics of the profession while covering elections and live to their responsibilities as watchdogs of society.
“Now, training the media is vital when endeavouring to strengthen good and democratic governance.
“With Nigeria in its third decade of democratic consolidation and many complex conflicts threatening to rupture the country, the Nigerian media is one of the most powerful institutions in the country.
“Its influence and reach should not be underestimated.
“With General Elections ahead and faced with fake news and the growing importance of social media in shaping of public opinions, while at the same time the safety of journalists is at stake.
“This shows us how relevant and timely it is to train those charged with covering the upcoming general elections,” said Peran.
She thanked the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, CJID, and its CEO, Dapo Olorunyomi, whom she described as a partner and friend.
“We are continuously grateful for the strong relationship we have developed over the years and wish to keep up this fruitful partnership.
“It is crucial that we continuously train journalists and together initiate relevant public discussions,” Peran said.
Olorunyomi in his paper, “The Media and Democracy Interface: Why Journalism is the Soul of Democracy,” urged journalists to always report based on verification.
Olorunyomi said false reporting was a disservice to the people, urging journalists to follow the electoral processes through the stages.
“With democratic practice, news media need to play three key roles; promoting accountability as stated in Section 22 of the 1999 constitution, watchdogs and agenda setters, and to strengthen the quality of democratic process.
“Writing must be based on verification. False and concocted reporting is not only doing disservice to us but discouraging the process.
“If Section 22 demands we hold people accountable, it is important we hold ourselves accountable. One point is that people are critical of our profession, we must be guided by ethics.
“Our journalism needs continuous education in a way that will make us better,” Olorunyomi said. (NAN)