By Sylvia Akpan and Mary Bassey
Listen To The Report
Stakeholders in the media have identified consistent training of citizen journalists and other media practitioners as the panacea for political misinformation which has often led to violence during electioneering periods.
This was the focus of discussion at an event to mark the fourth anniversary of Sparkling 92.3FM in Calabar on Thursday with the theme, “The Role of The Media in Addressing Political Misinformation Causing Spread of Violence.”
The Chairman, information and voters education at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Barrister Festus Okoye while delivering the keynote address, stressed the fact that the media plays a vital role in reducing incidence of misinformation the political process that can lead to violence.
Panelists, Dr. Macfarlane Ejah and Jonathan Ugbal delved deeper and pointed out that media practitioners are also influenced by different factors.
“The media itself is key and our political content is beginning to influence on them in different angles; the social content, ethnic content and religious content and actions of those who have made themselves capons and leaders in different places, while the media is playing a role, the factors that are fueling the violence are there,” Dr. Ejah said while noting that violence was fueled by the desire of those vying for offices to be masters instead of being servants of the people.
He called for citizen journalists to be respected while Mr. Jonathan who is CrossRiverWatch News Editor said combating misinformation needs journalists to be armed with tools to access information.
“We have to make the system work perfectly to be able to tackle misinformation. You need journalists to operate in a favorable environment and have the requisite skills to access true and factual information to tackle misinformation that can lead to violence,” Mr. Jonathan said.
Meanwhile, the General manager of Sparkling FM, Joshua Moses, commended the staff and participants for their massive turnout in ensuring the anniversary was a success.
“Many businesses don’t even survive their first two years. I know that we have had our challenges, with regulators in the business but we still crossed the first two years and get to four years. We are proud of the journalism work we do. In four years I can say sparkling FM has changed the face of broadcasting.
“With information we have partnered with media organizations, we have partnered with civil societies, we have partnered with security agencies to make sure the people we serve are always given the best,” Mr. Moses said.
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