An ace broadcaster, Femi Mapaderun on Wednesday advised media practitioners in the country to adhere strictly to the ethics of election coverage and reportage during 2019 general elections.
Mapaderun gave the advice in Ilorin in his presentation at the one-day seminar on “Nigerian Journalists’ Ethics and Election Coverage and Reportage“, organised by the Kwara Directorate of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in conjunction with the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
According to him, the media practitioners more than ever needed to uphold ethics of their profession in news reporting and information dissemination during election.
Mapaderun, who is the General Manager, Impact Business Radio FM, Ibadan expressed concern that social media platforms had been turned vehicles for peddling lies and hate speech, particularly during elections.
He said: “For the records, let it be made manifestly clear that the 2015 presidential election was won and lost on the social media.
“So much information, both truth and false, were flying on the social media most especially against the then sitting president, President Goodluck Jonathan who would need the grace of God to win that election. Here we are again, facing similar challenges or even in worse dimension.
“The major contestants are posting so much information and video clips on all social media platforms that one is at a loss as to what to believe.
“It is that bad, sad to say that our conventional media practitioners are being dragged into this puddle.“
He warned journalists and media house against reports and coverage that were ethically and professionally wrong, stressing that such media risked dent of credibility and lose public patronage.
“As media practitioners in this election season, we must be able to differentiate between propaganda and truth.
“As media a practitioner, you are endowed with potent instrument for change. You have tremendous energy for qualitative analysis through your reports and this shall be measured by the extent to which you enhance the integration of the society.”
Mapaderun said that the whole idea about the media involvement in electoral process was to help in boosting the competence of the electorate in the process and confer goodwill on the electoral umpires.
Earlier in his address of welcome, the State Director of NOA, Mr Olusegun Adeyemi, cautioned journalists and the public against promoting fake news and hate speeches.
The NOA boss noted that the trend was assuming dangerous dimension with most of the uprising, tribal wars, religious crises and ethnic clashes in Nigeria traceable hate speeches and fake news.
The Chairman of the state council of NUJ Mr Abdulwahab Umar, who commended the collaboration between NUJ and NOA aimed at training journalists ahead of the forthcoming general elections, noted that the seminar was crucial to the success of 2019 elections coverage by the media.