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INEC Urges Media to Take Measures Against Fake News

By Nathaniel Gana

28th October 2022 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged media organisations in the country to take adequate measures against disinformation, misinformation and fake news as Nigeria prepares for the 2023 general elections.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this at the Commission’s quarterly consultative meeting with the media yesterday in Abuja.

Prof. Yakubu, who urged the media to continue supporting INEC for successful elections in 2023, also stated that the media has a critical role to play in combating misinformation and fake news that could disrupt the elections.

“As the 2023 general election approaches, we shall continue to work together with the media. We will remain transparent and provide the required information to combat the triple menace of misinformation, disinformation and fake news as the commission does not support censorship”. 

He added, “We believe that the best antidote to fake news is greater openness and greater transparency. So, we appeal to the media to help us fact check, particularly some of the postings on the new media intended to either delegitimise those who conduct elections or to delegitimise the institution that conducts elections, with the ultimate aim of undermining the process.

“As I said, we will always remain open and provide information. I know you’re all professionals in your own right, but I have also learned on this job for some time now that a professional journalist is as effective as the amount and quality of information available to him or her. We will continue to provide you with the information necessary for transparent and credible elections”.

Prof. Yakubu also called for media collaboration for the further clean-up of the country’s voter register and seamless collection of permanent voter cards.

In his remarks, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, commended INEC for the successful conduct of the Ekiti, Osun, and Anambra governorship elections, saying that the feats demonstrated the Commission’s readiness to conduct credible elections in 2023.

Represented by the Union’s National Treasurer, Mr Dele Atunbi, the NUJ President also commended INEC for the various technological innovations in the country’s electoral process, “which has now given the electorate the opportunity to truly choose their leaders.”

His words: “The introduction of technology in the process of conducting elections has shown that INEC has given the people a right to choose their leaders. With the leadership recruitment process in Nigeria under your watch and leadership, we can say authoritatively that it is now for the public to choose their leaders.

“You have done your own part in the leadership recruitment processes, and you have done so well.  We are proud of it and we call upon Nigerians to seize this opportunity to protect democracy and their own interests.

He urged political actors to play by the rules and sell their party’s manifesto without tantrums, “which is not in the best interest of Nigerian politics.” 

Comrade Isiguzo also urged the media to be professional in their practice to help combat fake news and the use of hate speech or unprintable words during campaigns.