May 23, 2024

Bayelsa 2023: Journalists, CSOs brainstorm on impactful reporting


Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

Bayelsa-based journalists and civil society organisations on Thursday concluded a two-day session aimed at overcoming challenges to effective coverage of the November 11 governorship poll.

The event funded by the European Union (EU) was facilitated by the International Press Centre (IPC) and the Centre for Media and Society (CEMESO).

The media engagement involved 70 journalists drawn from broadcast, print and online platforms.

The forum featured interactive discussions with election stakeholders, lectures and sessions with various resource persons including the representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Police Command in Bayelsa.

Speaking at the event, Mr Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director of IPC noted that the media was critical to providing credible information to citizens on the forthcoming governorship election.

“The citizens make their choices on the basis of reliable information and it is the responsibility of the journalists that work in the media houses to fill this gap.

“We need to organize this programme for journalists to look at different aspects of our responsibility in the electoral process.

“We are interested in the issues of people who are generally underrepresented in the society who don’t have voices – the women, the young people. That is why we talk about inclusivity.

“We feel that if journalists would understand all these things, then they will be in a position to go out there and do stories that will be in the public interest.

“We are interested in knowing what the politicians want to do but we are more interested in journalists bringing to the attention of the politicians what the people really want them to do for them if they get elected. So that is the essence of this workshop,” Arogundade said.

Arogundade said his that between now and November 11, journalists in Bayelsa are expected to give more voice to the voiceless, especially the women, and bring issues of interest of diverse segments in Bayelsa to the attention of politicians.

“We want to see accurate information; we don’t want disinformation or misinformation to take over the atmosphere such that people will not know what to believe and it is we journalists that will provide accurate and reliable information.

“Another thing is that we want the media or the journalists to give more public enlightenment on the electoral processes and this is what we call voter education. What are the INEC preparations? What are the preparations of security agents like the police for the election,” he said.

Mr Samuel Numonengi, Chairman of Bayelsa Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) commended the organisers and noted that journalists in the state have braved all odds and risks to their lives in the discharge of their duties.

He noted that scores of journalists in the state survived boat mishaps and had their devices including mobile phones damaged by water.

“What the police said about the safety tips and how journalists should dress while going out to cover election is apt as some of the things they have to do. Also, from the side of INEC, more things that journalists can get to inform the public about.

We expect more training like this for journalists before the Bayelsa governorship election”, he said.

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