MR Kelly Elisha, the Chairman, Editorial Board, Daar Communications has cautioned journalists covering elections against all forms of heroics especially in a crisis situation.
Elisha, who gave the advice in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, therefore counseled reporters to be safety conscious and to avoid doing anything that would put their lives at risk.
“The safety of journalists starts with the journalists themselves. There is what we call ‘try not to be a hero‘ as a journalist.
“What do I mean by that? When you are shooting and you run into a crisis (situation), you want to prove that you are a hero; a dead hero cannot report anything.
“Try not to be a hero. So for the journalist, the first thing to do is, avoid crisis so that you can report tomorrow.
“Your organization might take an insurance (cover) for you, but insurance (cover) is not a coat of arm, insurance (cover) is not an amour.“
Elisha spoke on the responsibility of the media in ensuring violence free elections.
“The role of the media has been properly articulated in all the relevant legislations particularly the electronic media; they have it formulated in the NBC Code; then for the newspapers, they are guided by the ethics of the profession.
“The role of the media is very clear: to ensure that whatever is happening in and around the electoral environment is reported without any bias, mark that word, without any bias.
“Yes I agree that every journalist has his own leaning – political leaning – has his own sympathy, but when it comes to reporting elections, you should bury whatever bias you have, bury whatever political sympathy you have.
“All the processes that lead to the elections are properly spelt out; the media should properly explain it to the public.
“A media that plays one ethnic group against another just because of election is not being fair to the public.
“A media that plays one religion against another is not fair to the public. These are the trouble spots of any election – ethnicity and religion.
“The media should maintain a balance; it should be neutral.“
He stressed the need for the media to always maintain a balance and neutrality in the reportage of issues.