From Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Media professionals have been advised “to stick to media logic of social responsibility, ethics and values” as they prepare for coverage of the 2023 general elections.
Delivering a lecture titled “2023 polls: Effective media coverage amidst insecurity”, at the 2022 Press Week celebration of the Kwara State Council of the NUJ in Ilorin on Thursday, a Professor of Mass Communication at the University of Ilorin, Prof Lukman Azeez, said that politicians use every strategy and logic against their political opponents to sell themselves in every election.
“Journalists and media practitioners need to be extra careful of politicians’ strategy/logic of attack of their opponents in order to win elections. In the process of selling themselves, politicians might attack and tell falsehoods against their opponents. So, it behoves media practitioners to stick to media logic of social responsibility, ethics and values”, he said.
Prof Azeez, who described journalists as vital to the success of elections in any egalitarian society,
tasked journalists to play professional roles expected of them to avert breaches of the peace, fact check, objective and neutral in their reportage before, during and after next year’s general elections.
Prof Azeez, who is also the Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Ilorin, lamented the over-proliferation of small arms and light weapons, saying that the development had led to unabated security challenges threatening the lives of journalists particularly during electioneering.
The don noted that over six million small arms are in the hands of individuals as against 586,600 firearms of state security agencies.
The development, he said, had led to cases of prevalent insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, political thuggery etc, adding that journalists are endangered by the prevalent security situation.
He also charged the nation’s media practitioners to pursue what he described as peace journalism and be more responsible.
“Accuracy and objectivity are keywords. Journalists should be responsible for mobilising information that would better shape society and encourage tolerance and diversity and not which would escalate already battered security challenges or lead to war. Media men should uphold the ethical principles of journalism. Say no to the promotion of falsehood but encourage accuracy, be courageous and shun partisanship. Partisanship exposes journalists to danger. So, they should detach themselves from taking sides in every matter. They should promote reliable journalism and be socially responsible. They should say no to incitement against one another. No to the rumour. Endeavour to conquer that temptation to be partisan and avoid demonising language in your news stories.
Also speaking, the chairman, Kwara State Council of NUJ, Abdul-Lateef Ahmed, tasked the electoral umpire and security agencies to prioritise the safety of journalists as endangered species.
He advised the political class to tread softly and not to play do-or-die politics to ensure a crisis-free poll, adding that security agencies should prioritise the safety of journalists and their families during the campaign and the election proper.