INEC Seeks Intense Collaboration with Media to Curb Fake News 

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for stronger collaboration with the media in the efforts to combat fake news.

The electoral body said on Tuesday in Akwanga, Nasarawa State, that the collaboration would also minimize misinformation and disinformation about electoral process in the country.

The INEC made the appeal through Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the chief press secretary to the commission’s chairman, at a two-day capacity workshop for the INEC Press Corps.

The workshop focuses on “Ethics, Safety, Practices and Critical Issues Relating to the Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa governorship elections”.

Oyekanmi’s presentation was titled “Impact of fake news, misinformation and disinformation on election information: INEC’s experience”.

Oyekanmi said that misinformation and fake news were among the major challenges the INEC faced while conducting the 2023 general elections.

“The trend is a threat to democracy and is not limited to the social media alone.

“Some conventional mediums also fell for the fake news or misinformation that emanated from the social media,” he recalled.

He also recalled how some citizens and social media influencers spread fake news regarding the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, collection of Permanent Voter’s Cards and recruitment of staff for INEC.

There were also some falsehood related to ethnicity and the elections, he added.

“Many journalists also fell for such fake claims because of sentiments and individual prejudices.

“We had many situations where fake news got published without any form of verification. No questions asked about their authenticity.

“Journalists have the responsibility to report facts without taking sides on every matter, including election process.

“Facts are sacred. It is fundamentally important to present accurate and verifiable information.

“Journalists have a responsibility to report facts without distorting them to fit a particular narrative. The public relies on the media for truthful account of events,” he said.

Oyekanmi added that a strong collaboration between the INEC and the media was critical for a proactive approach to curbing fake news, disinformation and misinformation.

He urged the media to be factual, objective, truthful and fair in their reports on electoral process.

“Conducting free, fair, credible and inclusive elections is a collective responsibility.

“INEC will continue to provide the media with access to the relevant information it requires,” he promised.

 

 

 

NAN

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