Amaka Mozie in Abuja
Ahead of the 2019 general election, the former Inspector General of Police (IG), Solomon Ehigiator Arase, has urged journalists to be acquainted with the code of conduct in election coverage, and carry out security risk analysis in some conflict areas to avoid unwarranted attacks from the law enforcement agents and thugs.
Arase stated this while delivering a keynote address at a workshop, entitled “Ensuring Safety of Journalists and Safety Election Coverage’’ to mark the international day to end impunity against journalists organised by the Centre Against Brutality and for the Safety of Journalists in Africa (CABSOJA) in Abuja.
Advising journalists to keep to their sound ethical conduct in elections coverage, the former IG added that journalists’ knowledge about some crisis-prone areas would help them avoid conflict zones that will endanger their lives.
‘’Journalists should endeavour to move in group to prevent attacks, and they should avoid the coverage of polling units in remote areas except under the protection of well-armed security personnel’’, the former IG added.
In the same vein, the President, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Chris Isiguzo, while stressing the need for journalists to continue to hold the government accountable in line with the Nigerian constitution, advised them to adhere to the ethics of journalism of fairness, objectivity and balance.
He said as public trustees, the media have huge responsibility of upholding the truth at all time in their reportage, saying journalists have no mandate to fabricate stories, as members of the public rely on the media for useful information to take decisions that daily affect their lives.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Bayo Onanuga, tasked journalists to continue to defend the country at this critical moment of the country, advising them to avoid fake news in their daily activities.
He said journalists had in the past defended the country, urging them to sustain that spirit of patriotism.
The convener of the workshop, Desmond Utomwen, said journalists will continue to carry out their constitutional responsibility in spite of the huge threat from the security agents.