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2019: Media crucial to free and fair elections – INEC Chairman
Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the Commission is determined that the 2019 elections will be free, fair, credible and peaceful.
“We are so determined that the 2019 elections will be free, fair, credible and peaceful. A badly conducted election could be a disaster for any nation,” Yakubu said on Wednesday while speaking at the 69th General Assembly of Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).
Speaking on the role of the media in ensuring a free, fair and peaceful conduct of 2019 elections, the INEC Chairman cautioned against the use of media to incite crisis and violence reminding media practitioners of the Rwanda and Burundi Genocide in 2014.
“Without the media, safeguarding the credibility and transparency of the election will be a very herculean task
“The role of the media in information dissemination and public enlightenment, through the provision of platforms for electoral campaigns, public debate, and voter education is often a precondition for free and fair elections.
“The media is not only the cornerstone of democracy, but also play an indispensable role in the proper functioning of any democratic system.” He said
In his remarks, John Momoh, Chairman of Channels Television, emphasized that “greater transparency and accountability are much needed in the current climate of misinformation, political lies and widespread distrust.”
He noted that careful thought should be given to how “we create content, because without that, we could create reasons for discrimination, lack of understanding, misinformation, intolerance and conflict.”
“In the social and political circumstance that we live in, the broadcaster should strive to be a medium of moderation, in such a way as to relay information with decorum, with logic of perspective, and to be dispassionate in news reporting.
“With the growing influence of social media, and its likely role in the elections, we cannot undermine the occurrence of hate speech. It is therefore important for the broadcaster to be cautious.
“BON is progressing steadily, albeit with measured steps. And our role in the shaping of public opinion continues to be very significant.” He added