‘Don’t write off candidates before elections’


 11.Aug.2014    Tunde Ogunesan

 NIGERIAN journalists have been implored to stop writing off some candidates before election by shying away from profiling all candidates participating in an election.

This was part of the communique issued at the end of the second edition of a two-day workshop on “impactful election reporting for journalists,” organised by the Nigerian Press Council, in conjunction with Diamond Publication Limited, held at Kakanfo Inn, Ibadan, last week.

The participants examined a situation, where two candidates out of 20 participation were always given too much attention and publicity at the expense of others.

Participants observed that in most cases, the media would have pruned down the number of candidates in an election and in the process, shut out other contestants out in their reportage.

The decision was arrived at after three papers: “Anatomy of an election: Did the press goof on Ekiti governorship elections?” by Dr Bisi Olawunmi, lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State; “Beyond Osun: The media and election reporting,” by Mr Jimi Disu, on Air Personality at Classic FM 97.3 and “Visual assault: How the media encourage electoral violence,” by Mr Tam Fiofori, photographer and film maker, were delivered at the seminar.

Participants in their recommendations noted that the media should carry out indepth profile of all candidates.

They stated that to “enrich the electoral process and help the electorate make informed decisions, the media need to carry out indepth profiling of all candidates, without writing off some of them from the outset.

“Journalists should be skeptical of surveys conducted by vested interests and ensure that those used satisfy strict scientific parameters and where possible carry out their own independent surveys.”

Other recommendations included that “journalists should set their own agenda by not limiting themselves to coverage of staged events, but should rather raise critical issues that could engender constructive discussions and debate. They should also strive to maintain some level of integrity and professionalism, in spite of the factor of media ownership influence.”