The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged media organisations in the country to help fact -check disinformation, misinformation, and fake news as Nigeria prepares for the 2023 General Election.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this at the Commission’s quarterly consultative meeting with the media on Thursday in Abuja.
Prof. Yakubu, who urged the media to continue supporting INEC for successful elections in 2023, stated that the media has a critical role to play in combating misinformation and fake news that could disrupt the elections.
“As the 2023 General Election approaches, we shall continue to work together to counteract disinformation and misinformation. We will remain transparent and provide the required information to combat the triple menace of misinformation, disinformation and fake news as the Commission does not support censorship”.
He continued, “We believe that the best antidote to fake news is greater openness and greater transparency. So, we appeal to the media to help us fact- check, particularly some of the postings on the new media intended to either delegitimise those who conduct elections or to delegitimise the institution that conducts elections, with the ultimate aim of undermining the process.
“As I said, we will always remain open and provide information. I know you’re a professional in your own right, but I have also learned in this job for some time now that a professional Journalist is someone who works on the basis of information available to him or her. We will continue to provide you with the information necessary for transparent and credible elections”.
Prof. Yakubu also called for media collaboration for the further clean-up of the country’s voter register and seamless collection of Permanent Voter Cards.
In his remarks, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, commended INEC for the successful conduct of the Ekiti, Osun, and Anambra governorship elections, saying that this has demonstrated the Commission’s readiness to conduct credible elections in 2023.
Represented by the Union’s National Treasurer, Mr. Dele Atunbi, the President also commended INEC for the various technological innovations in the country’s electoral process, which now give the electorate the opportunity to truly choose their leaders. The introduction of technology in the process of conducting elections has shown that INEC has given the people a right to choose their leaders.”
“With the leadership recruitment process in Nigeria under your watch and leadership, we can say authoritatively that it is now for the public to choose their leaders.”
“You have done your own part in leadership recruitment processes, and these you have done so well. “INEC has done so well when it comes to the issue of giving it back to the people to choose their leaders. This we are proud of and we call upon Nigerians to use these opportunities or to seize this opportunity to protect democracy and to protect their own interests.
“You pushed the ball back and it is now for the people to take advantage of what you’ve done for us,” The NUJ President said.
He urged political actors to play by the rules and sell their party manifesto without the use of tantrums, saying the use of tantrums is not in the best interest of Nigerian politics.
Comrade Isiguzo also urged the media to be professional in their practice to help combat fake news and the use of hate speech or unprintable words during campaigns. National Commissioners and Secretary to the Commission, Rose Oriaran-Anthony attended the Consultative meetings