The Nigerian Press Council and the International Press Centre (IPC) today announced the release of their report on the monitoring of the reportage of the 2015 elections by twelve national newspapers, nine regional newspapers, four on-line news media and three social media platforms.
The newspapers that were monitored in the national category include Daily Sun, The Nation, National Mirror, Vanguard, The Punch, ThisDay, Daily Independent, The Guardian, Nigerian Tribune, Daily Champion, Leadership and Daily Trust.
In the regional category was Daily Star, Nigerian Observer, Nigerian Pilot, Abuja Inquirer, Peoples Daily, Blue Print, Desert Herald and Nigerian Chronicle while the online media outlets were The Tide, The Cable, Sahara Reporters and Premium Times. Enough-is-Enough, Nigeria, Reclaim Naija and INEC social platforms were monitored in the social media category.
The organizations said the findings should provide useful indicators on the role of the media in promoting stable democratic culture as the month was special as far as the 2015 elections were concerned.
“The month of April was particularly significant because it followed the conduct and the release of the result of the presidential and national assembly elections and the emerging issues while it also witnessed the governorship and states house of assembly elections. It was the month when Nigeria’s sixteen-year old political map was effectively re-drawn”, the organizations said in the summary of findings and outcomes.
NPC and IPC also said the report marked the end of the monitoring exercise which started in November 2014 through the funding support of the United Nations Development Programme’s Democratic Governance for Development Project (UNDP-DGDIII) and its partners including the EU, the UK AID, the Canadian Department for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFTAD) and the UNDP.
The organizations observed in the summary report as follows:
1. The National Newspapers
The newspapers devoted commendable attention to the coverage of the election processes. The reports were considerable high because the newspapers focused on matters arising from the presidential elections in the previous month and the various issues around the governorship and states house of assembly elections held during the month.
The APC and the PDP were again used as sources most of the times. While it could be argued that the pattern of reporting seemed to be to the disadvantage of the other political parties, it is worth noting that the pattern of reporting reflected the fact that the two political parties were winning most of the electoral seats being contested.
Female politicians again lagged behind male politicians as sources of election reports during the month. It was expected that there would be higher number of female sources during the month given the fact that a significant number of women contested the states house of assembly elections. Some of them contested on the platform of the ‘smaller’ political parties and it was quite obvious that the higher focus on the two biggest political parties affected coverage of their campaigns and issues.
The fact that ordinary citizens were the second most used as sources showed a public-interest oriented reporting of the elections during the month. Unfortunately, the concerned newspapers were again below par in the reporting of youths and persons living with disabilities.
The concerned newspapers were more conflict sensitive during the month. Many early warning signals reports were published while there were very few sensational headlines or inciting statements. No hate advertorial was published by the concerned newspapers.
The concerned newspapers gave impressive coverage to the issues surrounding the elections especially as they concerned campaigns and electoral conflicts. It was understandable that there were fewer reports on voter education because the governorship and state assembly elections took place early in the month.
News continued to be the preferred format of reporting of election issues by the concerned national newspapers.
2. The Regional Newspapers
The regional newspapers followed the pattern of reporting by the national ones by focusing greater attention on the two biggest political parties – PDP and APC
The regional newspapers did not show improvement in the use of female politicians as sources during the month.
The regional newspapers stuck to the commendable tradition of avoiding sensationalism.
The regional newspapers deserve commendation for consistently refraining from hate speech and incitement.
The regional newspapers leaned towards the public interest in publishing many stories on complaints and demands as well as INEC’s responses to them.
The issues of women, youths and persons living with disabilities did not receive the required attention.
A good percentage of the reports were given prominence as they were published on the front pages.
The various genre of reporting were well used by the regional newspapers.
3. The Online Media
The concerned online media seemed prejudiced against the other political parties as their reporting only focused on the PDP and the APC.
The poor use of female politicians as sources shows lack of gender supportive reporting of the elections by the concerned online media.
The concerned online media deserve commendation for completely avoiding hate speech or inciting headlines.
The concerned online media attempted to make INEC accountable to the public by giving the greatest attention to INEC’s response to complaints and demands.
4. The Social Media Platforms
The social media platforms played significant role in ensuring peaceful elections by being conflict sensitive and discarding hate speech. They however performed very poorly when it comes to under-represented groups as they failed to reckon with their issues.
The summary and the main reports are attached.
FOR NPC & IPC
Tel: +234 (0) 8023186845 , +234 (0) 8067144874
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Twitter: @lanreipc l Skype: lanre.arogundade2
International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos, Nigeria
IPC is Nigeria’s foremost media capacity development organization.
www.ipcng.org l www.twitter.com/IPCng l www.facebook.com/ipc.nigeria l www.youtube.com/ipcng l Google+ : Ipc Ng