Ahead the 2019 general elections, Journalists have been urged to strictly adhere to their professional callings and shun any report that may bring division and crisis while reporting electoral issues.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council, Mr. Nnamdi Njemanze made the appeal in his welcome address at a workshop organized for Journalists in the Southwest States by Nigerian Press Council with the theme, “Responsible Media Coverage of Elections”, held in Akure, Ondo State.
Njemanze said the Council decided to organize the workshop in order to reiterate the fundamental roles Journalists are supposed to play during the build up to 2019 general elections.
He warned media practitioners to guide against hate speech warning, “it is capable of inciting discrimination and violence”.
“We at the Council feel greatly concerned about the use of hate speech as it has been identified as one of the causes of communal crises and disunity among the Nigerian Citizens”.
He advised media practitioners not to let their contributions to democracy be one that will jeorpadize the interest of the nation.
The Secretary who explained that hate speech is fast becoming a predominant feature in the content of media and has the power of inciting discrimination and violence, admonished journalists to write stories that will bring about unity, common purpose respect for one another and national development.
On his part, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, INEC, Ondo state, Ambassador Rufus Oloruntoyin Akeju, who noted that the Commission depend on the media to inform the electorates on dates, timelines and procedures at the poll with fairness .
He urged Journalists to take media’s roles as watchdog for the society with utmost sense of responsibility in order to ensure transparency.
He appealed to Journalists to assist INEC in conducting a free fair and credible elections in Ekiti and Osun States in July and September respectful and 2019 general elections by adhering strictly to laws that protect electoral laws.