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Journalists tasked on accurate information during 2023 elections

Blessing Iruoma

Journalists have been urged to ensure that the information provided at the public domain as it affects the 2023 general elections are facts and accurate.

This call was made at a two-day capacity-building training of Journalists in Port Harcourt, recently organised by Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), through its fact-checking project DUBAWA in partnership with the Google News Initiative.

According to Mr. Kemi Busari, Editor of Dubawa, the aim of the training was to build African newsrooms’ capacity in digital journalism skills, verification, and fact-checking journalism.

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He said during the training, journalists were equipped with the necessary skills, which will aid them especially during this year election period.

When asked the choice of Rivers for the training, Busari said “As facts-checking organisation we are not able to monitor everything that is moving around, so we felt it is important for us to go to some states, equip journalists with the necessary skills for them to do the fact checking, hopefully we are able to track the false information during the elections.

“Rivers state has been a hot spot for election in Nigeria, but I think 2023 elections is also peculiar being that we have major candidates in each geopolitical zones, the country is divided into several parts. We have a lot of challenges and is going to be a very important election for us”.

He advised that “As journalists, we should see ourselves as very important stakeholder in this election. For many reasons a lot of people in the public look up to us for accurate information, for them to decide who to vote for and how to for, etc. So if you consider yourself a major stakeholder, we should take up the responsibility of putting out accurate information.

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“We should try to verify every press releases that is being sent to us. We should also try to us multiple sources in whatever we are putting for the public to consume”.

For politicians, he said “the country belongs to all of us and the way we run it, even on individual level is also the way the country is going to be for us. I will employ them to first of all be as truthful as possible, put out accurate information about the election and then also for them to have a good grasp of their supporters”.

Busari disclosed that the group was also taking the training to journalists in other regions, including organising similar trainings in four West Africa: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Ghana.