By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
The leader of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council has told journalists to know more about the candidates who will be contesting for respective positions in the year 2023 general elections in the country.
Comrade Adeleye Ajayi, Chairman of Lagos State Council of NUJ, also enjoined the media to have knowledge of economics, use available resources to check facts, provide a platform for debate on all sides and reflect the news about the weak.
Ajayi provided those outlines on the role of journalists in the search for credible and qualitative political leadership at a public lecture organized by Nigerian Union Journalists, Lagos State Council to mark the year 2022 Press Week of the Union.
The event took place on Wednesday 14th September 2022 in Lagos on the theme, “Media & 2023 Transition: In Search Of Good Leadership.”
“We as journalists must deliver on the responsibility of holding the government accountable to the people, aimed at producing good leadership (reference to Section 22 of the Amended 1999 Constitution).
“As watchdogs of the society, the media are expected to listen to what the politicians are saying and draw a conclusion as to the reality on ground,” Ajayi said.
According him, in the course of reporting, the media should be cautious in dissemination of materials, and should be watchdogs in truth and spirit and display patriotism.
He warned against journalists being sensational in their reportage, stressing that reportorial activities must be done with sound judgement.
The media must have unfettered access to information, Ajayi stated.
“However, as Nigeria marches towards the 2023 elections, issues of security and the need to build journalists’ capacity become imperative.
“There is also the need for the media to play its major functions to inform and educate the society on the power of their vote.
“The media through Televison, Radio, Print and Online can help to make this happen.
“There should also be a commitment from government that no journalists would be manhandled during election coverage,” he elaborated, adding that the media should, therefore, preach zero violence.
Ajayi urged journalists to be the champions of the campaign against vote-buying, violence and its implication.
He tasked the media to monitor the elections at the polling booth and the counting of the votes downloaded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) portal.
“The media must work towards accurate reporting of incidents during elections and be objective in presenting candidates and policies of the political parties to the electorate.
“Finally, the media as the midwife for the nation’s democracy should do all within their constitutional powers to project and defend the existence of democratic governance before, during and after the 2023 general elections,” the leader of Lagos-based journalists declared..