As the 2020 governorship election in Ondo State draws near, the International Press Centre, IPC today trained Journalists in the state in preparation for the exercise, being major stakeholders in electoral processes.
During the training, which was held via Zoom was in collaboration with the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, the participants who were Political correspondents of various media organisations in the state, were tasked on the need to embrace fact-checking by combining computer science with basic journalism techniques in order to avoid dishing out fake news on election day.
A resource person, Mr David Ajikobi of AfricaCheck, charged Journalists to be conscious of their sources of information, to check if a statement is a satire or joke, and ask experts for clarification.
Ajikobi who described fact-checking as a series of systems and processes Journalists can apply to stories anywhere, anytime, advised the participants to check their biases and consider if their personal beliefs could affect their jugdement.
According to him, human beings are inherently biased due to tribal, political and religion interests, Journalists inclusive, and therefore, urged them to filter and construct information professionally.
Ajikobi, who affirmed that Journalist couldn’t always get rid of bias, emphasised the need to back up any factual statement on a story, and be wary of sponsored contents which might be untrue during election.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Director of IPC who moderated the webinar session, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said the essence was to build the capacity of the political Journalists to consolidate the efforts of INEC with support from the EU-SDGN project.
Arogundade who expressed interest in holding physical training with Ondo Journalists after the COVID-19 pandemic, noted that the webinar capacity building session was to provide the participants with needed tools for coverage of the forthcoming election in a professional way.
Earlier in a welcome address on behalf of the State NUJ’s Chairman, the Secretary, Comrade Leke Adegbite had lauded IPC for the training, saying it was timely.
According to him, the focus of the training was apt considering the election histories of Ondo State and how Journalists had been falling victims of violent attacks.
He enjoined the participants to pay rapt attention and see it as an avenue to acquire more knowledge about election coverage.