2023 elections: CJID trains journalists on safety measures
By Daniel Adaji
The Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) has trained about 50 journalists on how they could ensure personal safety while playing their crucial roles in the forthcoming elections.
The two-day hybrid training took place in Lagos and other parts of the country. It was conducted on January 17 and 18, 2023.
Every election year, journalists and/or their media houses are attacked
The workshop held at a time when attacks on media and journalists have heightened globally.
Every election year, journalists and/or their media houses are attacked. Some get killed, despite the position of the law on media rights.
The attacks are carried out by some state and non-state actors.
The CJID, as part of its media literacy project, in partnership with the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), trained journalists on security and reporting elections in Nigeria.
The CJID Deputy Director, Busola Ajibola, stated at the workshop that the purpose of the election security training was to refresh journalists’ understanding of the crucial role journalists play in ensuring credible elections.
The training curriculum focused on the connection between journalism and democracy, emphasizing that weak journalism could threaten democracy.
The workshop covered key elements of the 2022 Electoral Act; crucial issues for journalists to focus on in the upcoming elections; and strategies for investigating them.
Mr Samson Itodo of YIAGA, who facilitated the session on Electoral Act, explained what journalists should know about the 10 key elements in the new Act.
Emphasis was also be placed on an inclusive approach to observing and reporting elections. Facilitators told journalists the value of accuracy and of fairly representing vulnerable or marginalized groups.
Mrs Ajibola, on her part, told journalists that they are responsible to the society, and not to politicians.
She said, “Society has entrusted journalists with the responsibility of holding those in power accountable to the public. This task is however compromised when facts are distorted in our reporting. This training will therefore provide us with knowledge on ways to stem the tides of information disorder in election coverage” .
Mrs Ajibola added that “One of the defining features of democracy is the opportunity for citizens to periodically hold their leaders accountable through elections. However, the effectiveness of this process depends heavily on the media’s ability to inform the public. As journalists, we must therefore continually commit to, and equip ourselves to fulfil the watchdog role of promoting rational public discourse that can help citizens make informed decisions and choose better representatives.
The CJID Deputy Director said, “To further address the issue of journalists’ safety in elections, CJID will host a National Symposium on January 31, 2023 to sensitize government, security agencies, political parties, and all other stakeholders on the need to commit to protecting journalists and ensuring their safety at all times – including during elections. We invite you to all attend in person or register to join us online.
The CJID thanked the Canadian Embassy for supporting this training.