From Stella Obi, Ibadan
A NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisation (NGO), the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC), has reiterated the call on journalists in Nigeria to prioritise anti-corruption and accountability in their reportage of the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, made the call at a one-day training themed: Journalists Training on Prioritising Anti-corruption and Accountability Issues During the Upcoming 2023 Elections, organised for journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Mr Rafsanjani, who was represented by the CISLAC Director of Legal, Adesina Oke, asserted that journalists play a critical role in the development of any nation, as they disseminate information to the public and help to form opinions, saying journalists can make or mar the elections through their reportage, and their role in ensuring free and fair elections cannot be overemphasised.
He noted: “If the information is false, it can destroy the nation, but if it is true, it can help to shape the nation. The vital role of journalists cannot be overemphasised. All of you here are representatives of various media organisations in the country.
One of the speakers at the event, Taiwo Hassan, spoke on the “Techniques in (Investigative) Reporting and How to Build Stories”, charging journalists to go beyond mere information dissemination in discharging their duties as they risk being challenged by hired charlatans who parade themselves as journalists.
Hassan stated that journalists must invest value in their reportage by fact-checking and questioning the quality of work done, which would make them stand out from the rest, asking journalists to be fair and open-minded in their investigation and demand accountability.
In her lecture on “How to Effectively Navigate Challenges Faced by Journalists in Nigeria”, Dr. Bridget Onochie charged journalists to be committed, diligent and responsible in carrying out their duties, calling on senior journalists to mentor and encourage up-and-coming journalists so that the profession would continue to experience growth.
Chairman, of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, Mr. Ademola Babalola, who was also at the event, lauded the CISLAC for the brainstorming session with journalists and emphasised the need to engage the media regularly as the 2023 elections draw nearer.
Babalola charged journalists to focus more on their functions of ensuring transparency and accountability in government by exposing acts of corruption and vote buying ahead of the 2023 elections to ensure free, fair and credible elections.