Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos has trained 12 media monitors to prepare them for the monitoring of the coverage and reporting of the electoral processes and the 2023 elections by print and online media.
The essence of the 18-month monitoring that will commence on October 1, 2023, is to assess the level of compliance with professional and ethical standards by newspapers, including online newspapers that would be selected for the exercise.
In a press release issued by the Communications Officer, Olutoyin Ayoade, IPC explained that the monitoring will be done within the context of the expectation of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage, which spells out the responsibilities of journalists and other media professionals during elections.
The Media Election Code was endorsed by umbrella media professional bodies and associations, and close to 300 individual media outlets in 2018.
It enumerates what journalists and media managers should do to ensure social responsibility and integrity; equitable access for parties and candidates; media access for disadvantaged groups including women, persons with disability and youths; conflict sensitivity and the avoidance of hate speech.
The training of the monitors is one of the activities under component 4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project, being implemented by IPC, along with its partner, the Institute for Media and Society.
The overall goal of the media component is to “Support the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria with the media (broadcast, print and online media) helping to facilitate the key ingredient of credible elections through engagement and professionalism in coverage and reportage of the electoral processes.”
The specific objective is to ensure that the media, including new and social media, provides fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of the electoral process.”
The first day of the training was facilitated by Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Sanmi Falobi, Project Manager of IPC, built the skill of monitors on the processes and methodologies of media monitoring.
They were introduced to the philosophical basis and technicalities involved in media monitoring, the outcome of which shall include agreement between the project implementation team and the monitors on the topics, the qualitative and quantitative indices, the standards for assessing/analysing media reportage, and the coding system.
The monthly findings and outcomes of the monitoring shall serve as instruments of engagement with journalists and media managers to address identified gaps and agree on measures for improvement.
Also, the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade explained that against the background of the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation especially by political actors, “all we are seeking to achieve is for the Nigerian media to contribute to the credibility of electoral information before, during and after the 2023 elections.”