By Helen Udofa
Ahead of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, the International Press Centre (IPC) has launched four-series specialised skill-enhancing sessions to equip and enable female journalists in Nigeria to report public interest issues around the 2023 electoral process from a deepened gender perspective and using data skills and investigative methods to challenge stereotypical reporting of the electoral process.
The IPC is the lead partner of component 4 (Support to media) of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase II (EUSDGN II) project.
Organised in partnership with the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), the first leg of the training took place in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, on November 7, 2022 with 32 female journalists in attendance.
The participants were predominantly from the southern parts of the country, while the second training, which is expected to be attended by 35 female journalists selected from the northern parts of the country, will take place in Abuja onNovember 21, 2022.
The specific objective of the media component is to ensure that, “The Media, including New and Social Media, provides fair, accurate, ethical and inclusive coverage of the Electoral Process”.
The overall goal was to “Support the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria with the media (broadcast, print and online media) helping to facilitate the key ingredient of credible elections through engagement and professionalism in coverage and reportage of the electoral processes”.
The IPC initiative aims to position female journalists to deliver impactful, public-interest and investigative reporting of the electoral process especially by incorporating the use of data tools in reporting the electoral process and the elections. The sessions are targeted to place female journalists at the frontline on elections reporting to write and produce special reports that are professional, inclusive, conflict-sensitive, fact-checked and data driven.
Participants at the training were required to pitch impactful story ideas for which the resource person would providementorship guide and editorial assistance.
Executive director of IPC, Mr. Larne Arogundade, in a statement, said “within the framework of supporting the media by improving the gender stereotyped representations of women’s political participation, the skill-enhancing session for the journalists is imperative to re-direct and prospect opportunities for new impactful and professional reporting of the electoral process while empowering female journalists as agents of change.”
The deputy editor, Africa- Check, Nigeria, Mrs. Motunrayo Joel; Dr. Titi Osuagwu of the University of Port- Harcourt, and the founder of Journalism Clinic, Taiwo Obe, facilitated the first training in Port-Harcourt, incorporating the topics,“Factual accuracy and combating fake news: The place of fact checking and data use in reporting of 2023 elections”, “Electoral Processes & 2023 Elections: According Priority to Issues of Women and other underrepresented groups” and “Impactful Reporting of Electoral Processes and 2023 Elections: Focusing on Issues & Telling Stories That Matter and Conflict-sensitivity and safety in election reporting.
The chief executive officer of International Society of Media in Public Health, Mrs. Moji Makanjuola; Nigeria editor of Africa Check, David Ajikobi; and founder, Journalism Clinic, Taiwo Obe, will facilitate the upcoming training in Abuja.
The IPC plans to train and mentor a total of 140 female journalists drawn from the print, online and broadcast media hubs during the pre and post elections cycles.
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