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March 8, 2023

Media expert, Maiyaki admonishes Journalists to revised media code on election 

Media expert, Maiyaki admonishes Journalists to revised media code on election 

By Ibrahim Hassan, Kaduna 

A communication expert and former correspondent of Radio France International (RFI), Ahmed  Maiyaki, has admonished journalists to adhere strictly to the revised media code on election, insisting that journalists should be fair in their reportage and avoid promoting stories that may lead to conflict. 

Maiyaki was a guest speaker at a one day interactive session with gubernatorial candidates in Kaduna State on Peaceful Elections in Nigeria organized by the Global Peace Foundation Nigeria in.collaboration with the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and a private firm,Big Minds Communicatiins Consult (BMCC). 

The Communications expert who, is also the Team Lead, MDINIGERIA, had served as Director General on Media and Publicity to former a Kaduna State Governor between 2012 to 2015, said the media revised code was timely and important because it was desirable to have a set of guidelines that regulates the professional and ethical conduct of the media and journalists during elections.

According to him, “it is an established principle that the ability of citizens to make informed choices during electoral processes strengthens democracy;

WHEREAS it is equally established that democracy thrives on good democratic practices, the kernel of which is the right of the people, to freely and knowledgably choose their representatives;

RECOGNISING that the media enables voters to make informed choices by providing information that enhances their knowledge of electoral processes;

NOTING that the media as watchdog of the society should be catalysts of transparent electoral processes and credible, free, fair and peaceful elections.”

According to him, the revised media code was predicated on the principle and expectation that relevant stakeholders, including the Government at all levels, the Law Enforcement and Security Agencies, the Political Parties, the Election Management Body and Civil Society Organisations will contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for the media to perform its professional and social obligations during electoral processes.

He said  government at all levels, its agencies and officials, shall ensure the safety of journalists during electoral processes, including refraining from assault or intimidation in any manner whatsoever.

“The government at all levels and its relevant agencies shall ensure prompt investigation and prosecution of any individual or group accused of assault, harassment, intimidation or other crimes against the media and journalists during electoral processes;The government at all levels, its agencies and officials shall channel any complaint over the conduct of journalists, including during electoral processes, to the appropriate regulatory or legal institutions..”

“The government at all levels, its agencies and officials shall ensure the free movement of journalists in any part of the country during electoral processes and refrain from any act likely to inhibit such;

• The government at all levels shall abide by institutional, regulatory and legal frameworks requiring equitable access to state media by political parties and candidates contesting elections.”

On Political Parties, he said the Political parties shall respect the right of journalists to cover and report their activities and, accordingly grant them reasonable access to their events and officials for this purpose, while refraining from harassing or intimidating them in any manner whatsoever “

“Political parties should support the investigation of any act of assault, harassment, intimidation or other crimes against the media and journalists by their members or agents and ensure that alleged perpetrators are promptly brought to justice;

• Political parties shall channel any complaint arising from the conduct of journalists covering their activities to the appropriate regulatory or legal institutions and refrain from extra- judicial actions or

any other form of self-help.”

“Political parties shall provide prompt notification and sdequate information about their activities; Political parties shall not offer bribes or other forms of inducement to journalists to publish or suppress information about themselves or their activities.The Election Management Bodies (INEC and SIEC). The Election management bodies; (Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) in each of the thirty-six States of the federation, shall proactively provide the media and journalists with information on their activities, election timetables, arrangements for the elections, voting procedures and processes, and other information related to the electoral process to aid the factual and credible reporting of electoral processes.”

” The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) shall provide information and materials to the media to enable them carry out accurate and effective civic and voter education;

• The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and State Independent Electoral Commission(SIEC) should support capacity building for journalists and other media professionals on election reporting;”

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) shall make electoral information freely available to the media to enhance factual and credible reporting of electoral processes;” he said