An Overview of IPC’s 2023 Activities

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Project Title: European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria-Phase 2 (EUSDGN II) project.

In 2022, the International Press Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, launched a project funded by the European Union to enhance media involvement in promoting democratic governance through fair, accurate, ethical, and inclusive coverage of electoral processes in Nigeria. The project aims to support democracy by engaging the media in professional reporting on electoral procedures across various platforms.

The activities implemented under the EUSDGN II project are as follows:

  1. One-day skill-enhancing virtual workshop for 40 bloggers and online journalists in the southern part of the country on conflict-sensitive reporting                   

In preparation for the February 2023 general elections, IPC conducted a one-day virtual workshop aimed at enhancing the skills of 40 bloggers and online journalists from the southern region on conflict-sensitive reporting. This workshop took place on January 12, 2023. Furthermore, an additional 40 bloggers from the northern region were also trained, resulting in a total of 80 participants being equipped before the 2023 general elections.

The primary objective of the virtual workshop was to address the dissemination of hate speech and counteract the negative impacts of unethical and insensitive reporting during the 2023 Nigeria electoral processes. The focus was on empowering media professionals with ethical and conflict-sensitive reporting skills to foster responsible journalism.

Among the attendees were online journalists and bloggers, including members of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), actively engaged in online coverage of the 2023 elections.

  • Media/CSO Roundtable – 2023 Elections – Avoiding Landmines, Overcoming Obstacles and Conducting Credible Elections   

IPC and YIAGA Africa, under the EU-funded EUSDGN II project, organized a forum to address INEC’s readiness for the 2023 elections. Stakeholders discussed election themes like security, inclusivity, and media responsibilities to enhance public trust and credibility. Key attendees included media and CSO representatives, with a focus on proactive measures to ensure successful elections.

During the roundtable discussions, stakeholders delivered presentations on various election-related themes, including election security, citizen engagement, inclusivity, media responsibilities, and insights from INEC representatives. The forum concluded with a collective acknowledgment of crucial areas that could impact the elections’ credibility, prompting commitments from INEC and other stakeholders to address these concerns proactively before the presidential and gubernatorial elections.

  • One-Day Media Stakeholders’ Roundtable on The Media Monitoring Report of The Coverage of the 2023 Electoral Process.  

IPC conducted two roundtable sessions in Abuja and Port-Harcourt with media stakeholders to review the media monitoring report on the 2023 electoral process. Discussions focused on coverage trends of the election by newspapers and INEC platforms, addressing professionalism and improving media coverage. The initiative, spanning eighteen months, also analyzed IPC’s media coverage of the electoral and democratic processes. After the activities, the goals achieved were:

  • – Media monitoring reports provided insights into coverage trends during the electoral process, encouraging professional reporting standards and supporting under-reported themes.
  • – Recommendations highlighted areas for improvement in electoral reportage.
  • – Expert reviews addressed gaps in election coverage and proposed solutions for media professionalism.
  • – Findings were used to identify areas for improvement and guide programmatic interventions. Workshop attendees included journalists from print and online media.
  • Stakeholders Roundtable on the Role of the Media in Deepening Democracy Governance and Public Presentation of the Presidential Campaign Promises

The roundtable discussion focused on various topics related to enhancing democratic governance by promoting transparency, accountability, and participatory decision-making to bolster comprehensive government practices. During the session, in alignment with IPC’s mission to reinforce the media’s role in democratic governance, IPC presented an analysis of the campaign promises made by the winner of the 2023 presidential elections.

The comprehensive documentation of the presidential campaign commitments, which emphasized development across multiple sectors, provided both the media and citizens with an opportunity to assess political agendas and educate the public on the significance of upholding accountability in democratic governance.

Furthermore, the roundtable facilitated a detailed conversation on fostering democratic accountability by aligning with citizen expectations and enhancing the media’s role as the fourth estate of the realm.

IPC meticulously recorded and presented thirty (30) pivotal campaign pledges made by President Bola Tinubu, independently monitored by IPC’s media monitoring unit between October 2022 and February 2023. This effort was part of IPC’s involvement in the 2023 electoral processes, including tracking and analyzing media coverage trends across various platforms such as print and online media outlets.

Moreover, the media roundtable acknowledged IPC’s significant achievement in developing the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage for IOS and the Media Election App. These resources provide essential guidelines for election stakeholders, creating an environment conducive to enabling the media to fulfill its professional duties effectively during electoral procedures. The development of the IOS/Web App aimed to facilitate easy access for journalists, media professionals, researchers, and academia to download the guidelines for enhanced accessibility and application.

  • Media Roundtables Engagement on Imo Guber Election, Imo, Kogi Election and Bayelsa Elections.

The purpose of this event was to conduct a thorough analysis of the intricate relationships between the public, the media, and the electoral procedures. The primary objective was to formulate a comprehensive agenda that emphasizes enhancing the media’s and citizens’ roles in fostering a credible electoral system.

The workshop aimed to instil essential media professionalism and inclusivity in the coverage and reporting of the ongoing electoral process in the state. This initiative is intended to assist the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in facilitating transparent, peaceful, and legitimate gubernatorial elections in Kogi in November.

Furthermore, the workshop fostered collaborative brainstorming sessions and idea exchanges among media stakeholders to explore effective strategies to uphold the media’s crucial role in promoting electoral processes and democratic principles universally recognized.

Moreover, the workshop delved into an in-depth analysis of these roles and deliberated on ways to address the obstacles that often hinder their effective execution.

Lastly, participants were introduced to the IPC’s Media and Elections app, an innovative tool designed to enhance access to valuable resources for election reporting.

Project Title: IVERIFY Project

The primary goal of the iVerify project, facilitated by the International Press Centre in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of Spain, is to enhance efforts in combating the concerning issue of information disorder. This includes tackling the surge of disinformation, misinformation, malinformation, and hate speech, particularly during electoral and democratic proceedings.

Activities

  1. Fact-checking workshops for journalists from Kogi, Bayelsa ad Imo States

IPC organized fact-checking workshops for 80 journalists from various media outlets in the three states ahead of the November 11, 2023, off-cycle governorship elections. The Journalists were trained to detect disinformation, use fact-checking tools, and provide factual election coverage without biases to ensure accurate information reaches the public.

Project Title:  NIGERIAN JOURNALISTS’ SAFETY INITIATIVE

Activities

  1. Capacity building program for local journalists on impactful reporting of grassroots development issues and safety consciousness.

The training was conducted by the NIGERIAN JOURNALISTS’ SAFETY INITIATIVE, a pivotal component of a three-year project named ‘Safety Awareness and Impactful Reporting of Communities’, overseen by IPC and supported by the Open Society Foundation (OSF). The primary objective of this capacity-building initiative was two-fold: firstly, to equip local journalists with the requisite skills for reporting on human and social development matters in a solution-focused manner, and secondly, to educate a wider audience of media professionals on essential skills, methodologies, and safety measures crucial for impactful reporting on grassroots development issues.

IPC orchestrated this training with a specific focus on empowering local journalists with the necessary skills for reporting on human and social development using a problem-solving approach, and also disseminating valuable insights on skills, methodologies, and safety protocols to a broader group of media professionals engaged in impactful reporting on grassroots development matters.

The workshop yielded significant results, including the enhancement of journalists’ professional competencies and an elevation in the coverage of developmental issues at the community level in at least three regions across Nigeria. Additionally, a comprehensive resource guide on impactful reporting of grassroots development issues and safety procedures was introduced and distributed to further bolster professional development and safety awareness among media practitioners.

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