Democractic Governance: journalists and the media can do better - IPC Executive Director


Democractic Governance: journalists and the media can do better - IPC Executive Director

From Uchenna Ezeadigwe 


Chief Executive Officer, International Press Centre, Mr Lanre Arogundade has stated that journalists and the media can do better in terms of reporting accurate and factual information about democratic governance and its electioneering processes in Nigeria.

The media guru, made this assertion recently during the 2 day media workshop organised by the International Press Centre Lagos and support from the European Union held at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Porthacourt, Rivers state.

News Echo reports that the training with the theme "Credible Election and Democratic Governance: Media Capacity Building Series on Combating Informatiin Disorder" had forty selected journalists from Southsouth/Southeast Region undergo learning on use factchecking tools, Freedom Of Information Act, Gender roles and its language use amongst others.

Speaking shortly after the training, Mr Arogundade said "Journalists and the media can do better to hold government accountable to the people and report in the public interest because ultimately its about the people. So we are are looking at democractic governance and post elections particularly when it comes to promises made by these elected politicians, its important we use relevant tools to follow up on those promises and  the claims they are also making about what has been done and what has not being done".

"We also we believe that the gender issue is very important and in the course of this training we should not forget that we have an obligation to advance the course of Women and that's why we organised this training for forty journalists across the South-south and Southeast".

He charged participants at the workshop to bear in mind that they are Catalyst for good governance. "We have seen societies including Nigeria itself where journalists through consistent reporting and follow up, journalists have been able to make difference in the life of the people, getting government to do what they are supposed to do. So we should have that confidence that it is possible despite the challenges faced".

Executive Director Media Rights Agenda, Mr Edetean Ojo noted that as media professionals we are into the Information business and the whole form of this is to enable citizens including journalists to get information from institutions and officials but what is more important is to get information that is reliable. "In the digital age there is so much fake news and inaccurate information floating around. So it's particularly important that when we have an instrument that enable us to ask and get information and have the assurance that the information we are getting is accurate and reliable, then we should utilise that instrument".

"Unfortunately, our experiences have been over the past twelve years since the law have been in existence journalists have not made significantly use of it. So part of the objective here is to create data awareness, sensitise them on the existence of law and the value to them and also build capacity about how to use the law effectively". 

Ojo speaking on challenges journalists face in getting data from institutions and government officials, said that over the years our government have operated on the state of secrecy and that era of secrecy is inbuilt in governance, so it will take time to break that culture.

"I believe that through persistent and consistent use of the law we would gradually begin to see a new reality where government officials will understand that they are under a legal obligation to provide citizens with information and when journalists or other citizens are using the law to ask questions they need to provide information or ordinarily there will be consequences for them".

Adding, Dr Titilayo Osuagwu, a lecturer in the Department of Broadcasting, University of Portharcourt while speaking on lack of gender equity in the Nigeria, maintained that both gender has a paramount roles to play in order to advance the course for women's right. She noted that women has to be deliberative in their attitudes and actions  hence the need to continue to create awareness, and support each other.

Some of the participants who spoke to our correspondent expressed appreciation to the International Press Centre and the European Union for their support to ensuring that journalists receive training on fact checking and use of freedom of information act in discharging their professional roles to the society. 

For Pearl inengite,TV Broadcaster, "I am glad being a participant of this workshop. my idea about the media have been broaden. I have learnt how to use fact-checking to provide idea and not just to conclude with any information out there, also how to use Artificial Intelligence, the materials were helpful the resource persons. I will like to appreciate the organisers of the programme  the European Union as well as IPC for providing journalists with this programme and I hope it continues with time".

Paschal Ibe of the Crime Fact News, Enugu state agreed that "the workshop was a wonderful training dealing on freedom of information, fact checking, in this contemporary world we need all this to make sure the public are not mislead. I have learnt alot and I want to use this medium to appreciate the European Union and International Press Centre ,Lagos for the job well done".

Friday Ebimabowei Peter, Trust TV Bayelsa state, while expressing fulfilment for the knowledge gained, thanked God for the opportunity to undergo the training and most importantly understand what FOI is all about, fact checking, and information disorder as the right statement and not fake news.


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