Covenant University sets the pace for 2015 general election
In view of Nigeria’s countdown to her 2015 general election, the Department of Mass Communication of Covenant University has organized a Consultative Meeting of Communication Scholars and Practitioners on the topic “The 2015 General and Presidential Elections and National Security Issues.” The meeting involved both external and internal participants and it took place at the University’s Guest House.
The convener of the consultative meeting, Professor Cecil Blake, said that the objective of the meeting was to address issues relating to the reportage of the 2015 election campaign and the insurgency underway in the country.
Prof. Blake stated that the purpose of the meeting was for communication scholars and professionals to launch a process of developing a platform that would contribute to the expansion of strategies and tactics developed and deployed by authorities to preempt conflicts, and to promote dialogue and social cohesion.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Charles Ayo, said the meeting was organized to reshape the destiny of the country in the forthcoming election. In his words, “This will hopefully play a major role in improving the existing security situation in the country before, during and after the election.”
After the general session, participants held a brainstorming session in two groups, and they concluded their deliberation with the position that stakeholders in the media industry should ensure strict adherence to the existing professional codes of journalism in the coverage of the general election.
While discussing the security concerns of journalist, the forum emphasized that the government should take responsibility for the protection of the lives and properties of people. It was further stated that both the government and media owners must make journalists’ welfare and safety top priority.
In addition, media owners were urged to increase their investment in the industry. Participants also recommended enhanced training for communication practitioners in covering the election and insurgency.
The forum encouraged a positive view of true African perspective on issues and events while also appealing for a wider deliberation on national issues with specific reference to conflict resolution. Appeal was also made to regulatory bodies, professional organizations and media bodies to ensure the immediate dissemination of the media codes of election coverage.
Participants concluded that media owners should actively facilitate the implementation of the principles of fairness, objectivity, balance, and transparency, while also avoiding hate speeches in the coverage of the election. It was also emphasized that journalists must verify information accessed from any social media source.
Communication scholars and professionals represented at the consultative meeting include, The African Council for Communication Education (ACCE), The Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) and The National Union of Journalist (NUJ).