As political parties and candidates officially commence campaigns for the 2019 general elections, the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria has tasked journalists covering the electoral process to professionally report the campaigns within the context of the provisions of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage.
In a statement by the organisation’s Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, IPC noted that, “The Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage, Revised Edition 2018, which was endorsed by over a hundred media professional groups and associations; broadcast, print and online media outlets; media support/development groups; and journalism training institutions, provides detailed guidelines for the professional coverage and reporting of the elections”.
Mr. Arogundade said the guidelines stipulate that journalists should give equitable access to parties and candidates, reflect the views of underrepresented groups like women, people living with disabilities and youths, and refrain from publishing or airing, stories, headlines, images and adverts that constitute hate speech and could incite violence.
“The media as the key purveyor of information on the electoral processes should therefore ensure best professional practices by acting in accordance with the provisions and guidelines of the code, Arogundade said””.
He further said, “Media organisations and regulatory bodies are reminded of their obligation to use internal mechanisms during the campaign and electoral processes to regularly monitor implementation and compliance with the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage”.
The IPC Director also said journalists should strive to comply with other frameworks governing media coverage of elections such as the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
Mr. Arogundade equally reminded the government, the Political Parties and INEC of their obligations under the Media Code of Election Coverage to facilitate the enabling environment for effective media coverage by proactively providing electoral information and ensuring the safety of journalists.