- The Publisher of The Drum Online, Prince Akanni Segun has urged the local media to be accurate in the reportage of the approaching 2019 elections. He made the plea in his capacity as guest speaker at a lecture organized by the All Nigerian United Nations Students and Youth Association’s Conference (University of Ibadan Chapter) at the weekend.
Present at the event are Dr. Yemi Faronbi, the gubernatorial candidates of National Interest Party, Princess Bolanle Ashabi Sarumi Aliyu, Engr Akinwale Omololu Laosun of African Action Congress, Mr Akande Akin Sanyaolu of Peoples Democratic Change, Prof. M. O. Abdul rahman among others.
Challenging the media over the election, Akanni posited that ‘’there is no gain saying that the media has a big role to play, not only in ensuring that elections are transparent, but in ensuring also, that the outcome of any given election reflects the true wishes of the people
At the event which held at Alumni Auditorium, University of Ibadan with the theme: The Role Of The Media In Ensuring People’s Vote Count. ‘ the Publisher said the word media was first used in reference to books and newspapers, that is the print media. But with the advent of technology, media now encompasses television, movies, radio and the internet.
He pointed out that the watchdog role of the media, ‘’naturally comes to bear at election periods; adding that ‘’it is safe to propagate therefore that the media is essential to democracy, and a democratic election is impossible without it’’.
In his words ‘’A free and fair election is not only about the freedom to vote and the knowledge of how to cast a vote, but also about a participatory process where voters engage in public debate and have adequate information about parties, policies, candidates and the election process itself in order to make informed choices. The media acts as a watchdog to democratic elections, safeguarding the transparency of the process.
The publisher insist that ‘’in order to fulfill their roles, the media need to maintain a high level of professionalism, accuracy and impartiality in their coverage”
He said “regulatory frameworks can help ensure high standards” adding ” that Laws and regulation should guarantee fundamental freedoms essential to democracy, including freedom of information and expression, as well as participation’’.
Akanni pointed out that the provisions such as requiring government media, funded out of public money, to give fair coverage and equitable access to opposition parties, help ensure appropriate media behavior during elections.
‘’The media have traditionally been understood to refer to the printed press as well as radio and television broadcasters. In recent years however, the definition has become broader, encompassing new media including online journalism, and social media. Citizen journalism is widely gaining attraction, including in countries where traditional media is either controlled or strictly regulated.
‘’In today’s world, the media have become very essential because they play outstanding roles in the society. ”
Aside the popular known roles the media have come to be identified with, he said they also have a greater responsibility for ensuring free and fair elections, even as he examined other ways through which the media “can ensure that the vote of the people indeed count’’.
INEC’S Resident Electoral Commissioner in Oyo State, Barrister Mutiu Olaleke Agboke who was the Keynote speaker at the event urged politicians to shun violence while urging youths not to malleable tools in the hands of the political parties.
The Head of Media and Publicity of The National Orientation Agency, Alhaji Kehinde Isiaka, representing the State Director of the agency, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu, spoke on vote buying, urging students not to be part of the political scandal that is presently rocking the nation’s political space.
In his remarks, The President of the association Mr Oluwasegun Olalekan Oladokun thanked guests for their contributions to the success of the event affirming that the event is a Political Conference, organised by All Nigerian United Nations Students and Youth Association(ANUNSA), University of Ibadan aimed at making 2019 elections a success.