A Non-Governmental Organisation, Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa, has urged media practitioners to help calm the tension across the country through their reportage ahead of the 2023 general election.
CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, noted that the tension associated with the forthcoming elections has never been witnessed, especially during the Second Republic.
Oluwafemi, who spoke at a training programme for journalists on the 2023 general election in Kaduna on Monday, said CAPPA was partnering with the European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria for the 2023 elections.
He, however, tasked journalists to focus their reports on rural settings in order to draw the attention of relevant authorities for development.
He said, “There is extremely high tension in the land over the election. I witnessed the Shagari/Awolowo election. There is never a time the country has been at edge like this time.
“We are in a time that is extremely very difficult to make comments about elections because it could be interpreted or misread otherwise.
“So we are here at this training programme on how to use our reportage to promote peace during the election.”
Speaking on ‘The role of the media as society’s watchdog,’ CAPPA’s director of programmes, Philip Jakpor, said promoting peaceful and non-violent elections required “an understanding of our interests, politics and the electoral process itself.”
“It requires a sense of nationalism and a sense of fairness and equity,” he added.
But Jakpor noted that journalists were in most cases in a dilemma because the “government wants journalists to report only progress; politicians expect journalists to polish their image and paint their opponents in a bad light.”
He added, “So Journalists are like the beautiful brides all suitors are trying to woo. But journalists must be critical and refuse being wooed.
“The voices of ordinary people should be heard because they bear the brunt of the impact of government decisions and suffer most from deprivation arising from public expenditure priorities, etc. They make up the largest sector of the population. Do not stay on the fence if the issue will affect the stability of the state.”
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