By Olayinka Latona
LAGOS — LAGOS lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has urged media practitioners in the country to adhere strictly to the rules of engagement on accuracy, objective and balanced reporting during the February general elections.
Speaking at the first public lecture series of the Lagos State Polytechnic, School of Communication and Liberal Studies, Ikorodu campus, Falana said elections cannot be successful without the active involvement of the media because the voters cannot be fully educated and enlightened without it.
Speaking on the theme “2015 Election: Legal and ethical issues in media reporting,” Falana counselled media practitioners to desist from giving undue advantage to any candidate or any political party, stressing that the importance of the media to the success of electionerring process cannot be over-emphasised.
According to him, accurate reportage of any election by media practitioners promotes transparency, credibility and impartiality that give legitimacy to the process.
In his words: “As far as the law is concerned, the media has a larger responsibility to educate and enlighten Nigerians with a view to mobilising and sensitizing them to make the right choices while electing politicians. Giving undue advantage to one candidate over another is a criminal offence. All candidates and political parties should be given equal airtime and reportage.
“Media practitioners should present balanced, accurate and fair account of the electioneering process. They should not allow themselves to be used as tools to violate the law.”
Falana said he entertained no fears about next month’s election, assuring that the nation will not break.
Advising Nigerian youths, especially students, not to be used during or after the election as political thugs, Falana asked the youths to challenge those going for political offices on the under-development in the country.
Also speaking, the school’s Rector, Dr. Abdulazeez Lawal, who described the lecture as timely and appropriate, called on Nigerians to ensure that they perform their civic responsibility during the forth coming election.
The Dean, School of Communication and Liberal. Studies, Mr. Adebayo Alake, in his opening speech, said Nigerians needed to be fully and accurately informed to enable them choose those who will govern them or represent them, noting that there is a crucial link between the media and democracy in dissemination of information to the people.