Participants at a Focus Group Discussion on the trends and challenges in election coverage in Nigeria have asked the media to support ongoing advocacy on the administrative independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by actively collaborating with the Civil Society and other stakeholders to bring the issue to the front burner at the National Assembly.
This formed part of the recommendations of the media experts in the performance of the media during the 2019 general election organised by the Institute for Media and Society with support from the EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria.
The forum identified the need to raise the bar for media practitioners as a critical way of bridging the knowledge gap especially on media code of ethics and suggested that training and mentoring of young journalists and other media practitioners should be prioritized by media organizations to raise the competencies of journalists and quality of media reporting.
They also recommended that Media regulators should ensure that those who are saddled with the responsibility of leading media organizations are qualified and competent to occupy such positions, while Media organizations should put in place ‘Compliance Unit’ or ‘Ethical Desk’ as an internal regulation mechanism and compliance with code of ethics.
The participant made up of senior media practitioners and civil society groups also asked the National Broadcasting Commission should review the broadcasting code to reflect modern trends and challenges in the broadcast media ecosystem.
They stressed the need to source the Leadership of NBC and other media regulatory bodies internally from within the organization rather than appointment of persons outside as a measure to correct the negative perception of such organizations as partisan.
They also suggested the establishment of an independent body/council charged with the responsibility of appointing the leadership of government-owned media organizations to enhance the independence of such organizations
According to them, Persons with disability and other marginalised groups should be included in the coverage of electoral processes, while a favourable and condusive environment for journalists to carry out their assigned duty should be created through the procurement of life insurance for journalists to enhance professionalism.
They want the media to focus on regaining its position as an agenda setting institution for the nation and hold frequent engagement with electoral actors and government officials as a measure for correcting negative perceptions of the media
The believe that the media needs to raise its voice to in the face of injustice and legal challenges faced by media organizations and practitioners, while adopting investigative journalism as a tool for holding electoral actors accountable.
The media experts stressed the need for the media to build alliances within and across the profession as a means of effective handling of challenges faced by media organizations or practitioners