By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Nigerian media performed woefully in terms of preventing hate speech in the build up to the 2015 general elections.
Director International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos Nigeria, Lanre Arogundade expressed this in a presentation titled, ‘Media & Elections – Getting It Right’ at a two-day workshop for Kaduna based journalists at an African Centre For Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) sponsored training on conflict sensitive reporting.
“In 2015, the media did not get it right in terms of hate speech. TV stations like AIT used damaging reports about then Presidential candidate of APC, Muhammad Buhari. On January 19, 2015, Ekiti State Governor, Fayose sponsored hgate speech against Buhari on Guardian, Punch and Sun Newspapers,” he said.
The media expert said that the Nigerian elections have often been characterized by violence, beginning with ‘Operation We e’ – Western Region in (1964, 1979, 1983) and 2007 and 2011 in the North, where 800 were killed.
He explained that journalists can douse tension and prevent electoral violence through responsible reporting.
“In 1983, there was deliberate incitement of violence. There was general post election violence in parts of South West. Radio announcing movement of leaders of party and describing their kind of cars. Bayo Oluponda conducted research on 2015 election. At least 70 people slaughtered in On do State
“In Kenya in 2007, they held presidential elections and the media started identifying with the candidates based on where they come from. It led to worst violence ever and hundreds of people died,” he pointed out.