Media professionals in Imo state have been urged to steer clear of sensationalism and concentrate on issues that will foster peace before, during, and after the November 11 governorship election in the state.
The directive was given during a two-day capacity building meeting held for journalists and media executives in Owerri, the Imo state capital by Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of a non-governmental organization known as Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA.
In order to ensure a smooth election, he cautioned members of the fourth estate of the realm to be objective in their reporting, engage in fact-checking, and form a tight alliance with the electoral umpire.
Mr. Oluwafemi made a plea to media executives to make their platforms available to all the candidates participating in the election and refrain from being used by politicians to incite unnecessary unrest as such could trigger violence.
The Executive Director International Press Center Mr. Lanre Arogundade while speaking on Election and Conflict Sensitive Reporting said Journalists should not only collaborate with institutions of government to promote peace but should further to use the media to douse tensions in the event of crisis situations.
An Associate Professor of Journalism with the Lagos State University, Dr. Tunde Akanni while speaking on “ Conflict and Drivers of Conflict” cautioned the media to be wary of external influence who specialize in inciting violence especially during elections noting that Journalists must verify every information before dishing out to the public.
Other speakers, Lady Zikora Ibeh and Aderonke Ige called on media professionals covering the election to get acquainted with the electoral laws and to also provide the electorate with the platform that would aid them make informed decisions at the poll.
Writing by Chinazo Ilechukwu; Editing by Jennifer Ogor