IPC Round Table meeting to review draft report of baseline assessment on trends of print/online media reporting of governance, democracy and engagement of the electoral processes
The International Press Centre, (IPC) Lagos on Thursday April 12, 2018 held a stakeholders' roundtable to review draft report of baseline assessment on trends of print/online media reporting of governance, democracy and engagement of the electoral processes.
The event, which held at Pearlwort Hotel and Suite, Central Business District Alausa - Ikeja. Lagos, was in line with the objectives and expected outcomes of the Component 4b: Support to the media of the EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) project which aims to build a professional media as catalysts of democratic accountability, credible elections and good governance.
In line with the above objective and expected outcomes, IPC had commissioned a team of experts to conduct a baseline assessment aimed at providing information on trends of print/online media reporting of governance, democracy and engagement of the electoral processes over the years with the 2015 elections as main reference point.
The draft report of the baseline assessment, which gives some indication of prevailing trends in media reportages of the electoral process, especially the past election(s) was presented and subjected to a stakeholders’ round table discussion of media and electoral stakeholders for critical comments and validation.
Represented at the roundtable were media stakeholders from This Day Newspapers, Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Nigerian Press Council (NPC), University of Calabar, Mass Communication Department, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Lagos State University (LASU), Premium Times, The Guardian, The Nation, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), The Sun, Institute of Media and Society (IMS), The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Nnamdi Azikwe University, amongs others.
Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said in his welcome remarks that a team of three media experts comprising Mr. Lanre Idowu, veteran journalist and founder, Diamond Awards for Media Merit (DAME), Mr. Wale Adeoye, Executive Director, Journalist for Democratic Rights (JODER) and Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin, Online Editor of The Nation and founder, Media Career Services, were engaged to conduct the baseline assessment so that we can have some evidence-backed information on prevailing trends of media coverage of electoral issues. He further explained that the findings shall subsequently be used for a number of purposes including further engagement with media and electoral stakeholders as well as the monitoring of print and online media coverage of the on-going electoral process and 2019 elections.
Presenting the report of the 2015 general election coverage by the media, which gives some indication of prevailing trends in media reportages of the electoral process, Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin set the scene for input and deliberation by giving a background on the methodologies and indicators used for the assessment as well as a summary and recommendation of the findings of the report.
In her contribution, Professor Chinyere Okunna, a professor of Mass Communication at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University noted that users of social media have bastardised journalism practice in the country. According to her, the activities of social media has further tainted the credibility of traditional media adding that if the trend is not checked on time it is going to have a negative impact on journalism practice in the country.
She also gave useful insights on how to improve on writing of the report on the monitoring of the coverage of general elections in the country, commending the efforts of those who put together the report especially IPC that assembled the reports and monitored the coverage of the 2015 general elections by the media in the country.
Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi, This day Editor on Sunday interrogated the report based on newsroom management and political analyst’s perspective and listed an avalanche of challenges militating against balanced reportage of electoral issues in print and online media in the country. According to him, the influence of media owners contribute largely to how electoral issues are reported by the media in the country, according to him “the influence of the media owners and commercialisation play a vital roles in the slanting or otherwise of the electoral issues reportage of various medium in the country”.
In his own contribution, Dr. Tunde Akanni of Lagos State University commended the management of IPC for deepening democracy by offering effective monitoring of the media coverage of electoral issues and general elections in the country. Dr. Akanni advised that future roundtable on this subject matter should involve more scholars to give the discussion a scholarly bite that it deserves. He gave kudos to media practitioners in the country for the media coverage of electoral issues and general elections but insisted that it could be better.
Participants at the roundtable were unanimous in advocating for the consideration of the persons living with disabilities in interrogating the electoral issues and reportage of the general elections by the media in the country.