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Delta LGA Polls: Don’t Publish Election Results Before They’re Announced, DSIEC Cautions Journalists

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The Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) has urged the media to provide accurate and unbiased coverage of the July 13, 2024, local government elections in the state to ensure a smooth democratic process.

The commission’s chairman, Sir Dr. Jerry Agbaike, made this appeal during a one-day capacity-building workshop for journalists in the state held at the NUJ Secretariat Asaba, emphasizing the importance of quality reportage in preventing electoral malpractices and misinformation.

He cautioned journalists specifically not to rush to publish election results as they filtered from polling units, saying that a situation amplified by social media contributed to the spread of falsehoods and manipulated information, which can lead to violence and insecurity.

Dr Agbaike said electoral malpractice which included the introduction of armed non-state actors, blackmail political culture which encourage and rewards impunity, information mismanagement and negative reporting have turned elective political contenders into deadly violent competition instead of serving as the mechanism for democratic management of Nigeria ethnic diversity for the promotion and protection of electoral integrity.

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According to him, the media have a role to play to ensure the electorate and the public are given accurate information about the elections to forestall the breakdown of law and order in elections.

He said that misinformation that is orchestrated as rumour on whatsapp or twitter most often picked by mainstream media houses or influential political figures to perpetrate pre-existing political cleavages, identify politics, insecurity among others saying, there is a need to correct these anormally.

“Social media have robustly triggered misinformation, sharing of falsehoods with deliberate intent to mislead and promote selfish political agenda, deliberate translation with the use of automated networks, manipulated audio and video materials” .

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The commission has put in place measures to ensure free, fair, and credible elections, including having the list of successful candidates who fell within the field of selection after training of all applicants who participated in the recent training of prospective ad-hoc staff and collaborating with security agencies, he said.

“On the part of the Commission, it is driven by the strong ethics of quality, justice, fairness, and high integrity as impartial arbiters to deliver on its mandate to conduct free, fair, transparent, credible and peaceful local government elections on July 13, 2024.

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Delta State Council chairman, Comrade Churchill Oyowe, emphasized the responsibility of journalists to educate the public and hold stakeholders accountable.

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Oyowe said the responsibility of Journalists goes beyond mere reporting of the elections but involves educating the public, providing accurate and unbiased information and holding stakeholders accountable.

He said: “The workshop aims to equip us with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform these duties effectively”.

Comrade Oyowe thanked the Commission for the programme just as he thanked the resource person, Professor Godwin Oboh for coming to share his expertise with the Journalists.

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The programme which is themed :”Making A Successful Electoral Process Through Effective Coverage And Reportage” a lecture delivered by Professor Godwin Oboh, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Benson Idahosa University, Edo State, climaxed with questions and answers.

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