The European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (ECES) has trained over 50 journalists in Kebbi on election reportage, ahead of the Feb.5 local government elections in the state.
The Project Coordinator of the ECES, Mr Hamza Fassi- Fihri, said at the training in Birnin Kebbi, on Thursday, that the workshop was a three-day event, based on the request by the Kebbi Independent Electoral Commission (KESIEC).He said,” We are happy to have been able to set up these trainings in collaboration with our EU- SDGN partners, the Albino Foundation and Nigerian Women Trust Fund.“Experience shows there is no democracy without free media.
And there is no free media without committed journalists.“This is why it is so important to constantly invest efforts in training journalists, supporting their professional development and keeping their knowledge up-to-date”, Fassi-Fihri said.He explained that the aim of the workshop was to achieve the objective and offer an opportunity to deepen the reporting of elections as the important work of the journalists.“Elections are key moments in democratic life. But, it comes with a lot of challenges, risks, pressure and sometimes even threats and violence.” Reporting on sensitive contexts like elections requires high level of professionalism, starting with a thorough knowledge and understanding of the election process.“
This is in addition to a thorough analysis of the political context within which the election takes place”, he said.He also said that knowledge of KESIEC’s mandate would help the journalists to understand the challenges of the commission for better reporting to the audience.Fassi-Fihri expressed optimism that the training would contribute to building stronger bonds between the KESIEC and the media towards s stronger local democracy.
The coordinator also thanked the KESIEC leadership, the Chairman of the KESIEC, Alhaji Muhammad Mera, and his commissioners, for their invitation to ECES to support the training and for the warm welcome.Earlier, the KESIEC Commissioner for Publicity and Voter Education, Alhaji Mustapha Ka’oje, called on the journalists to cooperate with the commission and the facilitators, for an outcome of commitment to deliver thorough, verified and unbiased publication, among others.” At the same time, I exhort you to refrain from publishing information that encourages antagonism, which is likely to invite violence or jeopardise social cohesion,” he said.Ka’oje also called on the journalists to contribute to fair, transparent and peaceful processes, as part of their role of promoting democracy and respect of pluralism. A cross section of the participants, when interviewed, expressed delight over the workshop, saying that it would help them to create the enabling environment for the attainment of free, fair, credible and peaceful elections in the 2022 LG elections and beyond.
ECES is an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit Foundation headquartered in Brussels with a global remit.It was established at the end of 2010 and has implemented activities already in more than 50 countries in Africa and the Middle East, primarily with funding from the EU and its member states.
ECES promotes electoral and democratic strengthening, through the provision of advisory services, operational support and management of large projects mainstreaming capacity and leadership development via peer exchanges and comparative experiences, dialogue and the prevention and mitigation of electoral conflicts. (NAN)