Election Coverage: Journalists’ Union holds training on credible reportage
Tochukwu Ifejika Awka
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Anambra state council on Wednesday held a workshop on credible reportage, media safety in election coverage and disaster management ahead of the 2023 general elections
The Chairperson NUJ training committee, Ukpe Ewa explained that the training was designed to expose journalists to the rudiments of effectual reporting of electoral processes.
“Though the media terrain is shifting, the importance of this training is undisputable in an era where there are more writers and news reporters than ever before. The training on media safety in election coverage and disaster management
“As we move closer to 2023, the critical role of Journalist in the conduct and promotion of peaceful electoral processes in Nigeria is key and must not be handled carelessly. Journalists must rise to the occasion of protecting and strengthening Nigerians democracy through fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of electoral processes in Nigeria.
“It Should be noted that with globalization of the media space through information technology, enhancing the capacity of Journalist to be in tune with global best practices has become crucial if the media is to get it right.”
According to the NUJ Chairman Anambra state council, Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, the training is very necessary so as to learn from experts and professionals and also prepare Journalists ahead of the coming general election in order to improve in their reportage.
A Cyber Security Expert, Mr Tochukwu Ebeku, stressed that posting pictures and locations on social media exposes journalists to all forms of risks and uncertainties.
“Journalists, especially investigative journalists are never safe from being attacked because they have access to information, either scandalous or controversial, that someone out there wants to also have.
“Your jobs as media professionals are delicate and risky, and when you live your life on social media by posting your pictures and location, it makes you vulnerable and traceable.
“You have to be careful in cyberspace. Do not ignore cyber security and privacy because your career and life depends on it. Cyber security helps you work freely in cyberspace.”
Ebeku urged journalists to use strong passwords on the internet.
“Also ensure the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), to protect network connections of your devices as well as to secure your online traffic.
“If you get harassed online via email, save the emails as evidence to help security agencies arrest the malicious attacker,” he said.
Senator Victor Umeh while speaking to participants commended the leadership of NUJ for finding it necessary to organize the training.
“It is very good to prepare for the unforseen and how to handle challenges when they come. It is only through training that one gets equipped to deal with challenges confronting their profession and career. Everybody is becoming conscious of the dangers in reporting and that’s why this workshop is important as we approach the general election.
“Media practitioners are exposed to occupational hazards, risk and dangers because their duty is guided by ethics. Journalists help to form and guide public opinions and must be sure that any information given is the truth and credible.”
Anambra State Commissioner of Police Mr Echeng Echeng said the police has already started training in preparation for the coming 2023 general election and workshop has already been held in Owerri and Enugu.
He urged journalists to be mindful of their style of reporting stating that newsmen have the potential to save or destroy society.
Delivering a lecture, a Media Practitioner, Mr Tony Nezianya urged journalists to adhere to the ethics of the profession to ensure their safety and security.
“You have to be safe and alive to report your news stories that will educate, inform and entertain the people.
“To ensure your safety and security as a Journalist, you need to report the truth, report objectively, accurately and be factual. If you go contrary to these, you endanger your career and life.
“The coming general election is laced with many emotions, journalists must adhere to the ethics of the profession to stay out of danger,” he added.