WorldStage Newsonline — Ahead of Saturday general election in Nigeria, education stakeholders have called for fairness and transparency in the media reportage of the exercise .
Speaking at the 2019 World Radio Day in Abuja with theme: “fair and transparent reporting: a key to sustainable peace and conflict resolution”, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sunny Echono said that fair reporting was a crucial tool in ensuring a peaceful and conducive living environment during and after the election.
He said: “I urge us to ensure a fair and transparent reporting in order to promote unity and peaceful coexistence in all parts of the country the election draws closer.”
Secretary of the National Union of Journalist, Gbemiga Bamidele explained that the need for peace and tolerance cannot be overemphasized as they ensure civilized coexistence of all Citizens of the world With their diverse range of perceptions, cultures and religion ethnic practices and beliefs.
Bamidele said there was the need to ensure balance and even-handedness in presenting different sides of an issue as well accuracy and realism in reporting adding that there is need to present emphasis relevant points and Separate facts from opinion in order to ensure fairness in reporting.
He said: “To promote Peace and tolerance, there is an interesting component of both media practices and peace operations doctrines are the ethical guidelines that are always present in both fields. For example, there is need to ensure balance and even-handedness in presenting different sides of an issue, accuracy, present relevant points and Separate facts from opinion, Minimizing the influence of the writer’s own attitude, opinion or involvement and avoiding slant or devious purposed.”
The Director General, National Broadcasting Commission, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, emphasised
that the role played by media in ensuring peaceful coexistence cannot be overemphasized as media always remain at the forefront of national events.
“In recent time, hate and dangerous speeches, inciting and divisive comments and rhetoric characterize our polity and therefore fan the emerald of conflict and violence in Nigeria. The media through its reporting of such crises could promote crisis if not properly done,” he said.
“There is need for sensitive reporting, broadcasters must endeavor to understand the belief, culture and views of their environment so as to produce messages that will be acceptable to the teaming audience while still maintaining the unity and peaceful coexistence of the people.”
Moreover , the former director, ministry of information, Emmanuel Agbegir, explained that difficulty in accessing information especially in public offices remained a key factor that promoted the spread of fake news in the society adding a clear understanding of the role of information is crucial in creating access to information.
He said, “Access to information can only flourish on a society that appreciates the need for it and where government recognizes that information is the key to national growth and prosperity.
“In many developing countries, key laws and regulations inhibits access to information particularly in strife torn nations, or those suffering crisis of legitimacy and outright dictatorship, in such societies, press release are censored to the extent that only information considered favourable to government is permissible for public consumption.”