By Vera Sam Anyagafu
US Consul General in Lagos, Mr. F. John Bray, has declared US government’s support to realising credible, transparent, and peaceful 2019 elections in Nigeria.
Bray who spoke yesterday on the theme: “Media and Transparency of the 2019 Elections,” at the event marking the World Press Freedom Day, tasked journalists on delivering objective and balanced reporting during the elections, for fact that the people of Nigeria on them for unbiased and accurate coverage of the campaign season and the elections.
Bray said, “As the 2019 election draws near, the U.S. Mission supports your efforts to provide objective and balanced reporting to the Nigerian people,” adding that the US is putting together an election reporting training, scheduled to take place in four cities across Nigeria, and it will be co-facilitated by Voice of America’s Director of International Media Training and a renowned Nigerian journalism professor.”
This he said will help journalists to further understand their huge responsibility of reporting accurately on elections and electoral processes in the country.
Also speaking, former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC), Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, quickly addressed that Nigeria has no problem with elections, but with the counting of votes.
He said “Our problem in Nigeria is with the counting of votes. We have a tradition in Nigeria of never counting properly. Our lack of transparency in election is a reflection of our larger society and I’m glad that the media has been put in the front line of credible elections in Nigeria, “We need to bring data reporting into journalism; set up an election fusion centre for covering elections. We should have compulsory life insurance cover for journalists covering elections; and create protocols around access to counting.”
Similarly, the President, Nigeria Guild of Editors, Ms Funke Egbemode , urged that journalists to continue in the good work that has brought them this far, saying that they should do what is ethical to avoid anything that will jeopardise careers or cause chaos in the society .
Lending a voice, Chairman, Lagos Council of the Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ), Mr. Quasim Akinreti advised journalists to be fair in all reportings,.
His words, ” Report facts and be unbiased. Andi urge media organisations to ensure that welfare of journalists is well taken care of.”