Participants at the just concluded two days capacity training workshop in Kano have called on media practitioners to explore necessary avenues to verify information of any kind before dessiminating them for public consumption.

This was contained in a communique was signed by Professor Yahaya Baba and Abdullahi elKurebe as chairman and secretary on behalf of the participants who took part in the training workshop on sensitive conflict reporting and countering fake news, organized by Center for Democracy and Development, INEC and the NUJ in Kano.

The participants who adopted the 12-points recommendations in the communique , expressed concern that the prevalence of fake news could undermine a peaceful elections.

“while conventional news media should strive to avoid peddling fake news , Social Media users should be trained on how to identify fake news and Civil Society organizations should collaborate with media to expose fake news”,the communique explained.

It stressed the need for Journalists in the country apply due diligence when updating the general public on election processes and sustain sensitization on the consequences of vote buying and selling.

“There is need for Journalists and CSOs collaboration on voter education , interactive sessions between citizens and candidates of political parties , identification and timely reporting of conflicts sensitive issues with a view to maintaining peace and security before , during and after the 2023 election “,it added.

Similarly, the communique called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to resist pressure from some political actors to abandon the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System- BVAS in the forthcoming elections, explaining that the machines will ensure credible exercise .

It also urges INEC to give level play ground to all candidates and parties, and efforts should be intensified on voters education especially on the provisions of the Electoral Acts , voters’ rights , extant laws, rules and regulations, professional ethics and other relevant areas.

The communique observed that high-risk security areas may be a potent ground for election rigging and figures manipulation because voters may not turn out, thereby calling for vigilance in such areas.

It therefore appealed to security agencies to remain neutral and committed in averting breakdown of law and order during and after the elections, adding that adequate security cover should also be provided to journalists and other relevant personnel in the field during the elections.

Twenty nine Journalists from the North West Zone of the country and representatives of some Civil Society Organizations and INEC participated in the capacity training workshop

Communique/Teddy Daniel