The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos, has tasked journalists and other relevant stakeholders on safety consciousness in the performance of key institutional roles as the re-scheduled presidential and National Assembly elections hold today.
IPC Director, Mr Lanre Arogundade, sounded this caution in the light of the emerging accusations and counter accusations by political actors and other players in the electoral process.
“It is very important for journalists covering the general elections to be safety conscious in the discharge of their duties, and to avoid situations that would put them in a dangerous situation. Journalists are expected to be non-partisan. Being partisan is not only about being a member of a political party, but also includes the use of expressions and/or impressions with statements, tags, symbols and colours that portray or identify with a particular political party or personality”, Arogundade said.
He also admonished other stakeholders, especially the security agencies, to undertake their tasks in a very professional manner.
“The security agencies in recent times are the perpetrators of violence against journalists. Recent incidents as witnessed in the Osun re-run elections had shown vagrant abuse and violations of the rights of journalists.
‘’The security forces should note that the media is a critical part of the electoral process and so the media 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 credibility of the electoral process”, Arogundade added.
As part of initiatives to keep tabs on the safety consciousness of journalists, IPC said that there are safety alert officers across the zones that journalists under threat can report to.