By Olawale Ibrahim, Lokoja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged journalists to be mindful of their reportage before, during and after elections as every story and reports have national security implications.
The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Mr. Festus Okoye stated this in Lokoja on Wednesday at a workshop organized by commission for journalists ahead of 2019 governorship election in Kogi state.
He stressed that one false report, especially during elections, can lead to the breakdown of law and order.
While urging the media to sustained indispensable status in the task of nation-building, Okoye said the task is a national imperative , adding that the business of conducting credible elections is a shared responsibility of all the critical stakeholders in Nigeria.
He said, “Media practitioners are critical stakeholders in the electoral process with the constitutional responsibility of holding government at all levels accountable and acting as the tribune of the people.
“In performing this national task, the media must in theory, practice and in fact possess certain skills and capabilities. The media cannot rely on instincts in reporting the electoral process.
“They should not, must not and should not depend on rumours, innuendoes, gossip and fake news in reporting the electoral process”
He, therefore, tasked journalists to be mindful of their reportage, saying every stories and report have national security implications, stressing that one false report, especially during elections, can lead to the breakdown of law and order.
He charged the participating journalists at the workshop to take the training very serious in order to avail themselves with the commission’s guideline on the election.