BENIN CITY – A Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Delta State University, Abraka, Dr. Emmanuel Ufuophu-Biri has called on journalists to be objective and impartial when reporting political activities of the next general elections.
He made this call at a one-day sensitization workshop organised for journalists in Edo State covering the 2015 elections.
The workshop was organised in Benin City by the Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) in collaboration with Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State council.
He advised journalists not to allow their self-interest influence their coverage of political events, urging them to avoid subjectivity in their reportage.
Dr. Emmanuel Ufuophu-Biri who was represented by the Assistant General Manager, Delta Broadcasting Service, Mr. Godwin Orhadahwe, reinstated the role of the press in educating the people especially the youths about political and electoral violence, pointing out the ills of such practices.
“The press should educate the youths to tell the politicians to use their own children and close relations to engage in political violence, instead of sending them abroad and sponsoring the downtrodden and poverty blinded youths to commit political and electoral violence and crime,” he said.
Other roles expected of the media in 2015 general elections, according to Dr. Ufuophu-Biri included engaging in the education of parents and guardians on the need to dissuade their children and wards from being used as agents of political violence; campaign against rigging during the elections; encouraging robust political debates, desisting from partisan politics and discouraging electoral injustice.
The CEO/Coordinator of CEPEJ, Comrade Sheriff Mulede said the sensitization workshop serves as a reminder to journalists who will cover the 2015 polls to be up and doing and discharge their noble roles of gathering, processing and disseminating of information to the public as news reports can make or mar the outcome of the polls.
Comrade Sheriff Mulede frowned at the non-issuance of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) to registered voters in some states, saying it is not helping matters.
CEPEJ boss called on politicians and their supporters to mind their languages as election is not a do-or-die affair.
He said Nigerians expect issue-based campaign, given the many problems facing the nation.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State council, Comrade Desmond Agbama said the workshop would help prepare journalists for effective reporting of the coming general elections.
He called on journalists to be fair and unbiased when reporting political activities, especially as the elections draw close, while thanking CEPEJ for organising the sensitization workshop for journalists of the council.