The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos- Nigeria has enjoined journalists and other media professionals that would be on electoral duty in Ondo State on Saturday, 10th October 2020 to pay deserved attention to their safety. IPC also urged security operatives and other stakeholders that would be involved in the Ondo state Governorship election to help ensure the safety of journalists.
IPC Executive Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said the call was necessary because of the emerging conflicts and tension by political actors and other players in the electoral process in the state, the recent signing of a peace accord notwithstanding.
“It is very important for journalists covering the Ondo state election to be safety conscious in the discharge of their duties, and to avoid situations that will put them in danger. Journalists are expected to take into consideration some safety measures while on the field he said, adding that they should internalize the following tips:
· Be non-partisan
· Don’t walk or move alone
· Be INEC accredited and have your organizational identity card
· Be brave and smart…i.e. cover violent situations from a reasonable distance
· Handle classified information appropriately
He also admonished other stakeholders, especially the security agencies to undertake their tasks in a very professional manner.
He urged the Inspector General of Police to advise officers and men on the field, to protect accredited journalists, because the media is a critical part of the electoral process and journalists should be accorded due rights and privileges to enable them carry out their social obligations as partners in enshrining the credibility of the electoral process.
“Other stakeholders, including elections observers should also proactively provide journalists covering the elections with information to ensure that all work together for the success of the elections”, Arogundade added.
As part of initiatives to keep tab on the safety consciousness of journalists, IPC said that there are safety alert officers who journalists under threat/attack can report to. Arogundade said that in cases of attacks or insecurity issues, concerned journalists on the field can contact any of the following persons:
Melody Lawal (Safety Alert Officer, IPC) – 08132776441, Moses Ojo (South West, Press Freedom Monitor) – 08039105566
Mr. Arogundade also enjoined journalists to report any threats to the Ondo state Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.