As Nigeria’s 2023 general election approaches, media practitioners in the country have been cautioned against misinformation
The Chief of Party, Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement, SCALE, Ms Lydia Odeh stated this during a two-day south-south zonal stakeholders’ dialogue in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, southern Nigeria on ‘Addressing Barriers to Civic Space in the Niger Delta.’
According to her, “The media is very important because of the issues we are finding around the online civic space especially on social media. One of the things that hit us recently was the Twitter ban and how it really affected things. So, we want to preempt that kind of situation where it does not happen in the future, so that the government will not close space.
“So, as we move towards the 2023 election, the media should be honest. I know that the media has been diplomatic in its reportage in recent times and I know that there is some dangers journalists’ face. But, at the end of the day, the media is accountable to the public to report the truth, be fair and not partisan
“2023 with the general elections is a very critical period. It is a time when the issues of misinformation, disinformation and malicious information would play out because people are looking for how they are going to garner votes for themselves and sometimes to get those votes you end up putting out all kinds of news.
“So, the media has a lot of work cut out. But, as long as the media stays fair in their reportage and appreciate the fact that we (media) are responsible to the citizens of this country, society would be much better and the civic space open,” she urged.
On holding a region conversation, the Chief of Party explained that the SCALE Project decided to take its dialogue series to the regions sequel to previous engagements at the national level and due to the peculiarities of the zones.
Odeh said that the south-south geopolitical region was hosting the first of its zonal multi-stakeholders dialogue on civic space.
“We were having these conversations around civic space at the national level, but invited people from the regions. One thing that stood out at those engagements was that the issues were different.
“So, we thought it wise to dive deeper into those specific regional issues and that was how we started the regional meetings beginning from the south-south geopolitical zone. Our next meeting would be in one of the north east states,” Odeh added.
The agency, SCALE is an acronym for Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement
It is a 5 year Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented by Palladium to enhance good governance.