IPC, IMS pioneer media monitoring to enhance Nigeria’s 2019 elections

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By Segun Bambo Ojomo

The Institute for Media and Society(IMS) and the International Press Centre(IPC) recently held a public presentation of Joint Media Monitoring Report on coverage of the 2019 electoral process and media stakeholders’ roundtable.
The event was a joint activity of Component 4(Support to Media) under the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria(EU-SDGN).
The study was divided into 2 categories- the print and online media handled by the IPC and the radio and television aspects were handled by the IMS.
The review of the reports was by Professor Ayobami Ojebode of the University of Ibadan.
Prior to his review of the reports, Ojebode stressed the need for the media to be closely monitored by associated stakeholders to ensure the overall success associated with disseminating good and credible news and reports for public appreciation and consumption.
“Our world is noisy and complex hence the need for media to assist in focusing on what matters while discarding the inconsequential. But the media also needs to be closely monitored to deliver good reports, bearing in mind the complexity of the life and world of the practicing journalist “, he said.
He also gave reasons for the importance of monitoring journalists which include political disunity, misinformation, imperfections of journalists and the state of the nation which he referred to as ‘ fragile and conflict affected situation’ (FCAS).
Highlighting what aspects require monitoring for electoral purposes, he mentioned criteria including issues covered (agenda), persons covered (diversity, balance) and angles taken(fairness, objectivity).
The aforementioned are what the joint efforts of the IMS and IPC had been for three months.
Under monitoring for radio stations by IMS, sampling covered fourteen radio stations, four monitoring locations and 366 broadcast items. Kaduna State Media Corporation radio had the highest number of broadcast items on elections, clinching 20% of the total while Rhythm FM 93.7, Lagos came second.
For the television category, also by IMS, sampling covered 16 television stations, four monitoring locations and 1600 broadcast items. Desmims Independent Television (DITV) had the highest number of broadcast items on elections, followed by Television Continental (TVC).
Under monitoring for newspapers and online media covered by the IPC, 12 newspapers totaling 10,389 reports were focused on for 3 months. The Nation newspaper had the highest level of electoral coverage followed by Vanguard, Daily Sun, Nigeria Tribune and Daily Trust.
In a summary of the credits and deficiencies of the activities of the two bodies-IMS and IPC, Ojebode praised the two organizations for their proactivity rather than reactivity as well as their formative rather than summative evaluation, likening their efforts to ‘preventing headache rather than curing it’.
The event also featured display and launch of manual on Reporting Elections and Democratic Accountability(product of the IPC) and three other manuals- Broadcast Media Readiness and Engagement of Electoral Issues Towards the 2019 General Elections in Nigeria, Gender-Sensitive Media Guidelines for Coverage of the Electoral Process in Nigeria, Guiding Principles for Broadcast Media Coverage of the Electoral Process in Nigeria(products of the IMS).

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