2019 Election: Abide By Ethical Framework, Stipulated Guidelines, IPC Tells Nigerian Journalists

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By; JULIANA KATUNG, Kaduna

In view of the forthcoming 2019 and subsequent elections, journalists in Nigeria especially bloggers and online publishers reporting governance and electoral matters have been urged to
restrict themselves to the ethical framework and stipulated guidelines which would differentiate them from the regular trend of citizenship journalism.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Director, International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria Lanre Arogundade, issued at the end of two days workshop for online journalist/bloggers on conflict sensitive reporting ahead of the 2019 general elections

According to the statement embellished’ news reports with tribal, ethnic or religious
undertones and growing in the use of social media and online mediums for dissemination of fake news and hate speeches are often the purveyor of conflicts in Nigeria,.

‘Photo-shopped photographs and disturbing videos with fabricated local narratives promoted through online sources also trigger tension, political crisis and even communal conflict in sensitive communities” it added.

Its stated that in view of the above mention there is need for Online Journalists/Bloggers
reporting governance and electoral matters to equip themselves with information and knowledge on conflicts especially its context, its underlining causes, its effects and preventive and corrective measure thereby profile peace makers and subdue voices of purveyors of
intolerance and cheerleaders of hate, xenophobic & religious extremists in the country.

The statement added that Online Journalists/Bloggers should also exhibit high sense of professionalism in reporting the elections more so as good journalism requires the provision of accurate and reliable information to citizens;

The Director in the statement also enjoined bloggers to  be careful about reports and stories that could trigger killings and destruction and pay more attention to what they publish online because of the attendant implications for peaceful co-existence and social cohesion

“Journalists/bloggers should note that their negligence in applying ethical considerations to reports online, can cause unnecessary violence or even deaths of people; as such journalists need to stick to ethical standards by making sure that contents are problem
solving;

“Journalists/bloggers should embrace responsible journalism by looking out for accurate and
factual dissemination of news; avoid sensational and misleading headlines in their reports but rather stick to professional and  credible reporting” the statement stated.

Its stressed the need for Journalists/bloggers to always verify  news from all sides before publication in-order for their medium not to be tagged a medium of fake news.

The statement however called on the Online journalists/bloggers to be promoters of change and always guide against hate speech in their reportage in order not to raise political tension and be at the vanguard of mitigating hate speech by appreciating the cultural differences (in Nigeria) and promoting common good and unity at all time.

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