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Journalists advised to hold govt accountable


Journalists and media practitioners have been advised to hold government accountable on behalf of the people through accurate reportage.

Some media experts gave the advice during a two-day capacity training on Combating Information Disorder in Democratic Governance Reporting Using Fact Checking and Freedom Of Information tools.

The event which held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was organised by the International Press Centre, Lagos, with Support from the European Union for selected journalists from the South-East and South-South zones of the country.

40 participants selected from over 600 entries, were trained as part of activities under the Component 4 of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria.

During the build up to elections, candidates take advantage of campaign periods to make promises of what they intend to do for the people who always gather to cheer and clap for them.

Regrettably , after such persons win the mandate and constitute the Government, most of them renege on the promise to better the lives of the citizens.

Some of them who merely claim to be providing good governance enjoy underserved projection from media professionals who are supposed to keep them in checks by reporting nothing but the truth at all times.

This according to the Executive Director, International Press Centre Lagos, Mr Lanre Arogundade, made the training imperative to strengthen the media for fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive reporting of the entire process using Fact Checking, data and FOI among other tools to hold those in power accountable to their promises.

According to him, journalists can be catalysts of good governance, through consistent and accurate reporting which will compel leaders to keep their side of the social contract between them and the citizens.

Another expert, and Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda, Mr Edetaen Ojo, noted that with the high level of misinformation and disinformation on the internet, the responsibility falls on the media to use modern technologies and tools like the Freedom of Information Act to dig deep and coming up with an accurate, fair and balanced stories to counter the information disorder.

Mr Ojo, who regretted that over the decades, government has operated in secrecy which is inbuilt in governance, a situation only the media as well as other citizens could upturn by making use of the laws which will compel government officials to know that they are under legal obligation to provide citizens with information.

Also speaking, a lecturer in the department of Broadcasting, University of Port Harcourt, , Doctor Titilayo Osuagwu, noted with concern journalists do not give gender perspectives to elections and post elections reportage, hence the need to encourage the media and other stakeholders to deliberately strive for balance.

Doctor Osuagwu enjoined media practitioners to be deliberate about balanced reporting by consciously reflecting the views of all including women and girls.

Some of the participants, including Mrs Lauren Emenike and Comrade Aloy Attah, said the exposure they got on the use of some of the information tools will boost the quality of their reporting going forward.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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