The Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) has called on the media to employ professionalism in handling the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
In its 6th annual conference which was held on October 6, 2022 at Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, the body called on the need to eliminate the plague of fake news and pursue the development of online media in Nigeria to ensure objectivity in electoral reportage.
The conference, themed: ‘2023 Elections: Managing the Process for Credible Outcome’ had in attendance the likes of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) who gave the keynote address.
As part of its resolution, the conference called on collaboration between INEC, political parties, security agencies, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), labour unions, and other related stakeholders to secure the smooth conduct of the 2023 general elections.
A statement jountly signed by the Chairperson of annual committee, Ken Ugbechie and the Secretary, Olumide Iyanda partly read:
“GOCOP should collaborate with INEC, political parties, security agencies, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), labour unions, and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that the conduct of the 2023 general elections satisfies the letter and spirit of the Electoral Act.
“Need for the formulation and implementation of policies and interventions to support online publishers to keep them commercially viable and competitive in terms of quality reportage.
“Notes that the political environment is already fouled up and cautioned political parties and politicians to eschew bitter and divisive politics by ensuring that their campaigns are devoid of foul and vulgar abuses.”
The conference denounced inadequate security for deployment during the elections “since almost half of the security personnel in the country have been given out as orderlies to non-state actors.” It also bemoaned the current situation where electoral culprits walk freely without prosecution.
The body, while urging the electoral commission to be wary of violence and peace disruption during the election period also congratulated it for the passage of the electoral bill and the recent initiation of fine-tuning technology to carry out the election process.
The resolution further charged politicians to adopt civility in approaching the elections which is bound to deliver winners and losers as well as the need to embrace defeat and victory at the end of the exercise.