By Moses Morenikeji

The roles of journalists towards the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections came to the fore at a one-day training organised recently in Ibadan for media practitioners.

The training, organised by the Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, was well attended by journalists from broadcast, print and online media organisations.

The Executive Director of CAPPA, Mr Oluwafemi Akinbode, in his address of welcome, said the election is as old as the country itself.

Mr Akinbode maintained that what journalists feed the public can either promote peace or incite violence before, during and after the election, hence his advice that journalists should be conscious of what they publish or broadcast.

In a presentation on “Understanding Conflicts and Drivers of Conflicts”, a lecturer at the Lagos State University, Dr Tunde Akanni, opined that conflicts are functions of peculiar incompatible interests of stakeholders.

He identified factors responsible for political violence to include but not limited to, name callings, politicians’ inordinate ambitions, bias by the electoral umpire, unacceptable interference by the international communities and inciting or fake news by the media.

Dr Akanni reiterated the need for journalists to always fact-check their reports before being published or broadcast.

Also speaking, the Chairman of the International Press Centre and a former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Lagos Council, Mr Lanre Arogundade, who spoke on “Election and Conflict Sensitive Reporting”, advised journalists to be conflict-sensitive, reject and refute hateful comments from guests/politicians that feature on their programmes or interview.

He stated that no story is worth the life of any journalist.

Participants at the training were also taken through the Electoral Law and Guide for Media Coverage of Election Results by a legal officer with CAPPA, Aderonke Ige and had another session on “Newsroom Culture and Peace building in Election Reporting” anchored by a Development Strategist, Dr Olayinka Oyegbile.

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