By Ayo Kehinde
Media capacity and readiness to cover the 2019 poll fairly and ethically has received a significant boost from the EU backed Institute for Media, IMS and the International Press Institute, IPS.
They have deepened their support to the media by documenting in handy booklets the outcomes of their all-year round capacity training workshops and media monitoring report in the country.
In a public presentation of their joint media monitoring report on coverage of the 2019 electoral procss and publications, held in Ikeja during the week, the two strong media organisations went further to stress the importance of professionalism in the coverage of the 2019 electoral process by the media.
Before a participatory audience comprising media stakeholders, journalists and journalism teachers in tertiary institutions in the country, engaging communication experts and media managers presented the reports and explained the importance of ethical, fair and equitable coverage of the coming polls for the deepening of the democratic process in the country.
Profession Ayobami Ojebode of the Communication Department in the University of Ibadan, Dr. Ade Ogidan, and Mrs Precious Dorodola, Assistant Director, Programmes at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, made presentations at the joint IMS and IPC outing.
Ayobami who reviewed the first quarter monitoring report covering the months of June to August for the electronic, print and online media identified strengths and weaknesses in the coverage of the political process by the selected media outlets and made recommendations for improvement.
In their welcome addresses, Dr. Akin Akingbulu, Executive Director of IMS and Mr Lanre Arogundade, Director of IPC, said the Lagos gathering was part of the media-specific event that both organisations have carried out in the year under the project European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria, EU-SDGN.
According to Akingbulu, “ I am glad to report that we have made good progress in the implementation of activities in this, first, year. We have conducted training activities across the country, giving due consideration to diversity such as geographical spread, gender and media sub-sectors…
“We facilitated a participatory process in which media stakeholders brainstormed and produced another important document, Gender Sensitive Guidelines for Coverage of the Electoral Processes in Nigeria, Guiding Principles for Broadcast Media Coverage of the Electoral Process in Nigeria.”
The four publications presented at the occasion
The Guiding Principles, he said, emerged from interactions between teams of the regulator, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, BON.
For Arogundade, “the monitoring report for the first quarter highlights the findings and analyses of trends in the reportage of the 2019 electoral process by twelve print and online newspapers…The report highlights observed gaps and shortcomings in the monitored reports. The outcome are expected to be used as tools to engage with journalists, media managers and media gatekeepers”
In the end, Prof Ayobami presented the book, Broadcast Media Readiness and Engagement of the Electoral Issues Towards the 2019 General Elections in Nigeria, and Guiding Principles for Broadcast Media Coverage of the Electoral Process in Nigeria while Dr Ogidan presented the publication, Gender Sensitive Media Guidelines for the Coverage of the Electoral Process In Nigeria. Durodola presented Reporting Elections and Democratic Accountability: A Resource Manual.
Enhancing media professionalism, strengthening media capacity and improving media engagement in promoting women, youth and marginalized groups in politics are components of the project being carried out by IMS and IPC under the EU-SDGN Project.