By Omotayo Ayanda
The training, which provided Journalists with vital skills to protect themselves, also exposed participants to knowledge and tools to strengthen themselves during the election.
Addressing the participants, Deputy Director at CJID, Busola Ajibola said that the purpose of the Election Security Training is to refresh trainees’ understanding of the crucial role Journalists play in ensuring credible elections.
According to her, “society has entrusted Journalists with the responsibility of holding those in power accountable to the public. This task is however compromised when facts are distorted in our reporting. This training will therefore provide us with knowledge on ways to stem the tides of information disorder in election coverage”.
Ajibola said further that one of the defining features of democracy is the opportunity for citizens to periodically hold their leaders accountable through elections. “However, the effectiveness of this process depends heavily on the media’s ability to inform the public. As Journalists, we must therefore continually commit to, and capacitate ourselves to fulfil the watchdog role of promoting rational public discourse that can help citizens make informed decisions and choose better representatives.
“CJID is not oblivious of attacks against journalists and that the attacks tend to increase during election cycles. In 2022 alone, our Press Attack Tracker at CJID documented 53 attacks against journalists, many of which occurred during political rallies where journalists were beaten, denied access, or had their equipment damaged. We will therefore have a robust conversation on the safety of journalists in election cycles and the session will provide us with security tips for the 2023 Nigeria elections”, she added.
Ajibola stressed that to further address the issue of Journalists’ safety in elections, CJID will host a National Symposium on 31st January 2023 to sensitise government, security agencies, political parties, and all other stakeholders on the need to commit to protecting journalists and ensuring their safety at all times – including during elections.
She, however, expressed the centre’s gratitude to the Canadian Embassy for supporting the training, even as she thanked the facilitators and you participants for embracing the training opportunity.
Speakers at the training includes the Managing Editor, Premium Times, Idris Akinbajo, who lectured on “Investigative Tips for Reporting Elections”; while Samson Itodo of YIAGA Africa spoke on the top 10 provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
Ajibola Amzat of the Center for Collaborative Investigative Journalism (CCIJ) took the participants on how to tell election stories with data. Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of Premium Times, talked about the interface between journalism and democracy.
Session on the best practices of fact checking and why it is important during election was taken by the editor of Dubawa, Kemi Busari, while that on gender inclusion was handled by Busola Ajibola.