The National Coordinator, Association of Ivo Media Practitioners (AIMP), Dr Nelson Ogbaeja, has called for fair, balanced and objective reportage of electioneering activities in the forthcoming Ebonyi council election slated to hold in March.
Ogbaeja, lecturer in the department of Mass Communications, Ebonyi State University (EBSU), made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Friday in Abakaliki.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Ebonyi State Independent Electoral Commission (EBSIEC) in December released time table for the conduct of Ebonyi local government election to to elect 13 council chairmen and 171 councillors.
NAN also reports that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has fixed its party primaries ahead of the March council poll for Saturday, Feb. 23 in the 13 LGAs of the state.
He said that journalists covering the electioneering activities owed the state, Nigeria and indeed the journalism profession the sacred duty of upholding ethics of the profession in exercising their legitimate duty.
He urged media practioners to ensure that no political party and candidates involved in the election were undermined, marginalised or neglected in their reporting to enhance credibility of the process.
Ogbaeja said that AIMP would mobilise the electorate in Ivo LGA to actively come out and vote for candidates of their choice adding that the group would ensure that contestants were given equal media space and coverage.
He said: “media practioners, offices and organisations directly or indirectly involved in the coverage and reportage of Ivo LG politics cum election campaigns, especially the primary and main elections should maintain and uphold the ethics of media profession.
“They must stick strictly to truthful, objective and balanced reportage of information; there should not be any form of falsification or manipulation of information irrespective of the source.
“More so, journalists should be given freedom of access to information to guard against all illegal, fake, unauthorised and unprofessional coverage and dissemination of information.
“We urge that journalists covering the election especially in Ivo, notwithstanding the media organisation, must work to ensure peace and order before, during and after the election.
“We will not hesitate to sanction any member found to have compromised ethical standard in reporting election activities; every result must be confirmed by relevant EBSIEC authority before publication.” (NAN)