The 12 Media monitors started a two-day training at the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria, on Friday, September 23, to prepare them for the monitoring of the coverage and reportage of the electoral processes and the 2023 elections for the print and online media.
In a statement received from its Communications Officer, Olutoyin Ayoade, IPC said “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 ones, being selected for the exercise.
Among others, the monitoring will be done within the context of the expectation of the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage, which spells out the responsibilities expected of journalists and other media professionals at 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 management 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.”
It also added that 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 two-day training , the first day of which is being facilitated by Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Mr. Sanmi Falobi, Project Manager of IPC, aims to build the skill of the monitors on the processes and methodologies of media monitoring.
They will be 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.
“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”, said the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade.