A cross section of journalists from major print and broadcast media organizations have adopted a new code of professional conduct for the coverage of the 2019 general elections. Journalists performing their duty INEC urges media to help in voter education The new code was adopted by the journalists after a two days training on election reporting in the digital organized by Daria Media with the support of Macarthur Foundation.
After the training which focused on ethical issues in election coverage and the use of technology to distinguish between facts and falsehood, the journalists committed themselves to the new code to be officially launched later this week. Speaking after the training, Executive Director, Daria Media, Kadaria Ahmed said the new code mutually agreed upon by all the journalists who participated in the training, sets the threshold of fundamental values by which the countries media could judge itself and be judged.
She noted the code determines the rules which signatories undertake to observe and tells Nigeria’s electors what they are entitled to expect from a free and responsible media sensitive to the need of its audience during the democratic election process. “At its heart, the code seeks to balance freedom of expression and the media’s right to be partisan, and the equal rights of electors to expect openness, honesty and fair-dealing in the reporting of elections. ”It specific standards of accuracy, professional integrity and due sensitivity that embrace the best values both of Nigeria’s cultural heritage and ethnic diversity and of modern international society. It also safeguards journalism in the genuine public interest and the freedom to editorialize: to challenge, stimulate, campaign and criticize, “ she said.
On the reason behind the training, Daria said journalists needed to be more equipped on new methods to enhance the quality of their reports. She said: “ As the country continues to move from one problem to another, it is important that we are able to tell the truth. It should be done in a way that puts public interest ahead of everything else. My view is that the only way we can do that is if we improve the quality of our report.”
One of the facilitators at the training, Christiaan Triebert noted that with so much information available online, it is extremely important to use digital tool to verify such in formation so as not to mislead the public. “Given that so much information is now available online, journalists need to know how to use that information. In doing that, we must however verify such informations.
Digital investigation is an expansion of modern-day journalism. I do believe that these tools should be embraced by media organizations as it will make government and individuals more accountable and responsible for their actions, “he said.