The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria today urged journalists and other media professionals who would be on electoral duty during the off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo State on Saturday, November 11, 2023 to take all necessary steps to ensure their personal safety. IPC also urged security operatives and other stakeholders to protect the journalists.
IPC Executive Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said the call was necessary in the light of reported tension and violent conflicts in the three States over which political actors have traded accusations.
“It is very important for reporters covering the off-cycle governorship election to be safety conscious while discharging their duties, particularly by knowing when and how to retreat from dangerous situations”, Mr. Arogundade added, urging the journalists to internalise the following tips:
• Be non-partisan;
• Dress smart;
• Don’t walk or move alone;
• Don INEC accreditation card and have your organisational identity card on you as well;
• Cover violent situations from a reasonable distance and retreat as quickly as possible; and
• Maintain contact with your editors and close relations; and
• Report any threat to the Police, your news medium and your professional bodies
He also admonished other stakeholders, especially the security agencies to undertake their tasks in a very professional manner.
He urged the Inspector General of Police to put measures in place to ensure the protection of the rights of accredited journalists, because the media is a critical part of the electoral process and journalists should be accorded due rights and privileges to enable them carry out their social obligations as partners in electoral credibility.
“Other stakeholders, including elections observers should also proactively provide journalists covering the elections with accurate information to ensure that all work together for the success of the elections”, Mr. Arogundade also stated.
Mr. Arogundade explained that as part of initiatives to keep tab on the safety of journalists during the elections, IPC’s Centre for the Safety and Protection of Journalists would monitor and operate a situation room to be managed 24/7 by press freedom and safety alert officers to whom any journalist who is under threat or attack can report. Those to be contacted and their numbers are:
Melody Akinjiyan (Press Freedom Officer, IPC) –08132776441 http://bit.ly/IPCALERT1
Olutoyin Ayoade (Communication Officer, IPC) – 08114503887 http://bit.ly/IPCALERT2
Adeola Olanrewaju (Media Monitor, IPC) – 08128241359
Mr. Arogundade also enjoined journalists to adhere to the IPC safety and professional advisory which was launched during the last general elections to promote safety consciousness among journalists.
Press Freedom Officer IPC