The Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC), on Thursday, appealed to the media to ensure fair reportage of the Bayelsa gubernatorial election scheduled for November 16.
Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, the INEC National Commissioner, supervising Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers states, made the appeal at a one-day workshop for journalists in Yenagoa.
Agbamuche-Mbu said the workshop, with the theme on ‘2019 Bayelsa Gubernatorial Election: Legal and Procedural Issues’, was aimed at enlightening journalists on the procedures for coverage of the poll.
According to her, the media, as a critical watchdog in democratic elections, are required to provide adequate information about political parties, policies, candidates and electoral processes.
“The media are expected to keep the electorate abreast of political events in the state by reporting correct information.
“They are, therefore, admonished to maintain a high level of professionalism, accuracy and impartiality in their coverage and reportage of elections,” she stated.
Mr Monday Udoh, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), said that the workshop was also to update the media on the commission’s readiness for the forthcoming poll.
Udoh, however, commended the contributions of journalists to the development of the nation’s political system.
“As the gubernatorial election draws closer, the electorate rely mostly on the media for updates on the election activities. As journalists, it is expected of you not to disseminate fake information to the public,” the REC said.
Mr Festus Okoye, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information, Publicity and Voter Education, described the media as critical stakeholders in any electoral process.
Okoye, who also spoke on the topic ‘Constitution and Legal Framework for Governorship Election in Bayelsa’, stressed the need for accurate reportage during and after the elections.