An NGO, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), has advised journalists to ensure that their coverage of the March 11 Governorship and House of Assembly elections promotes peace and nonviolence.
Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of CAPPA, gave the advice on Monday during a media training on peaceful and non-violent elections in Port Harcourt.
He stated that the training was part of the European Union’s (EU) phase 11 support to democratic governance in Nigeria in preparation for a peaceful and non-violent 2023 election.
According to Oluwafemi, the training was also organised to educate the media about the importance of peaceful elections in the country.
He said that there was also the need to engage the media on the ways of dousing tension after the presidential election, particularly in the upcoming governorship election and State Houses of Assembly elections.
Oluwafemi said that the media practitioners were expected to douse tension rather than encourage violence in their reportage.
”This training would remind journalists on how to cast their headlines and reports not to cause crisis in the society.
”They are expected to educate the public to understand the policies and promote peace, looking at our strength in diversity to build stronger democracy and a peaceful nation,” he said.
He urged journalists to stick to the ethics of their profession to promote peace and non-violent election in Nigeria.
Oluwafemi urged Nigerians to be patient with the process of democracy.
He said that Nigeria would continue to grow in spite of the shortcomings that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had identified and assured that they would be addressed.
He urged Nigerians to give INEC the chance to prove their capacity, adding that eligible Nigerians should move out en masse to vote the candidates of their choice in the elections.
Similarly, Mrs Zikora Ibeh, the CAPPA Policy and Research Officer, who spoke on the topic ”Media in Peace Building”, urged journalists to challenge hate speech and misinformation by calling out and correcting false information.
She urged the media to promote responsible reportage that discouraged incitement to violence or divisions in the country.
She also urged the media to provide a platform to encourage peaceful expression and allow individuals as well as communities to express their views and concerns. (NAN)