By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
Ahead of the forthcoming general elections in the country, media practitioners have been called upon to write and present accurate reports during and after the polls in order to avoid giving misleading reports to members of the public.
The Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Mutiu Agboke and the publisher of and online magazine, ‘The Drum,’ Prince Segun Akanni, gave the charge respectively on Monday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, during a conference organised by the All Nigerian United Nations Students and Youth Association, University of Ibadan Chapter.
While delivering his key-note address at the conference themed: “The Role of The Media In Ensuring People’s Vote Count,”Mr. Agboke remarked that media practitioners are duty bound to ensure accurate coverage of the 2019 elections, adding the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was ready to collaborate with stakeholders towards ensuring free, fair and credible elections in the country.
He further called on politicians to shun violence as the election approaches and youths not to turn themselves to unholy tools in the hands of political parties.
Akanni on his part during his presentation said the media was essential to democracy, calling on the practitioners to embrace high level of professionalism and impartiality in covering the election.
“In order to fulfill their roles, the media must maintain a high level of professionalism, accuracy and impartiality in their coverage. Regulatory frameworks can help ensure high standards and regulation should guarantee fundamental freedoms essential to democracy, including freedom of information and expression, as well as participation,” he said.
He made it known that government media must give fair coverage and equitable access to opposition parties, pointing out that: “In today’s world, the media have become very essential because they play outstanding roles in the society.”
“Aside the popular known roles the media have to be identified with, they also have a greater responsibility of ensuring free and fair elections.”
In a remark, the Head, Media and Publicity, National Orientation Agency (NOA), urged students not to involve in political scandal rocking the nation’s political space.
Isiaka, who represented Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu, the state director of the agency, said all stakeholders must join hands in ensuring free, fair and credible elections as well kick against vote buying.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the President, ANUNSA, Mr Oluwasegun Oladokun, said the conference was organised to educate stakeholders on their roles toward a free, fair and credible election.
He noted that the conference was in line with the association’s aims at cultivating objective outlook on national and international issues amongst Nigeria students and youths.
Oladokun added: “We are grateful to the UI management led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka for creating an enabling environment and empowering students to lead conversations in national discourse and development.”
The conference has in attendance Dr. Yemi Faronbi, Prof. M.O Abdulrahman and a host of other personalities among whom weresome governorship candidates which include Princess Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu, the governorship candidate of National Interest Party(NIP); Mr Akinwale Laosun, the African Action Congress(AAC) governorship candidate; Mr Akande Sanyaolu, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Change(PDC).