By Myke Uzendu, Abuja
Media professionals in the country have been tasked to remain unbiased and shun very form of inducement to avoid being compromised in reporting the 2019 general elections.
The Managing Director of The AUTHORITY Newspaper, Madu Onuorah gave the charge on Wednesday in Abuja in a paper titled “Code of Conduct for Journalists and Media Houses in the Period of Election” at a workshop on ‘Promoting Violence-Free Elections’ organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (CAS), Germany.
Onuorah who prides with decades of experience as a consummate reporter and editor informed his constituency that their reports must at all times satisfy the prescriptions in the Code of Ethics of the Nigerian Press Organization.
He added that they must ensure their news reports protect national interests and must conform ensure balance and objectivity at all times.
Madu maintained that it is obligatory on all journalists to ensure their reports remained accurate, verifiable and balanced, stressing that anything short of that breeds chaos and anarchy in the polity.
He maintained that breaking a news-story is one leg of journalism, while following up on the issues concomitant with such, ensuring that the other side is given fair hearing remains critical for balanced information dissemination.
The AUTHORITY Editor-in-Chief said: “It is expected that ordinarily, journalists must abide by the professional ethics guiding their activities as enshrined in their Codes of Conduct or the electoral process.
“They must ingrain the habitual practice of pursuing objectivity and fairness in allocation of media space or airtime to all parties contesting elections”.
Expatiating on the need for balanced and accurate media reportage to ensure peace and violence-free election Mr. Onuorah called on media professionals to “report all electoral matters accurately and in strict accordance with verifiable facts.
“Report in a balanced manner, giving both sides in an issue the opportunity to state their own sides, both in the main report, follow-up, or right of reply.
“Avoid twisting facts to suit preconceived ideas/positions and to generally avoid inaccurate reports”.
He further charged media owners to realise that the coverage of election must be for national stability, prevention and reduction of redundancy of conflict and violence, polarisation and promotion of rule of law, functional institution, respect for constitutional order and must keep to international standard.
Also speaking, the Country Director of CAS, Vladimir Kreck, called on journalists to ensure they implement everything they learnt at the workshop, stressing that they must sensitize the electorate appropriately and present election reports in a positive way.
The event was attended by 35 journalists from 15 media houses.