Ahead of the November 11 governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) have called for action against fake news and hate speech to ensure the success of the elections and sable democracy in the country.
They made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at the commission’s meeting with media executives on the review of the 2023 general elections, which was the sixth in the series of meetings held by the commission in the last three weeks to review the election.
Speaking at the parley, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, assured that the commission will continue to welcome suggestions that will improve the future conduct of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.
He said that there are many positive aspects of the 2023 General Election and at the same time, there were challenges.
“The commission is aware that aspects of the election are being litigated at the various election petition tribunals. While we are careful not to touch on issues that are clearly sub-judice, it is appropriate to review the election broadly as enumerated on the agenda for this meeting contained in your folders,” Yakubu said.
Responding on behalf of the media executives and accredited reporters covering the commission, the President of the NUJ, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, noted that the 2023 general elections were a defining moment in the nation’s history, where the collective voice of the people resonated through the ballot box.
“While the media plays a crucial role in fostering democracy, we also face challenges that demand our unwavering attention. The rise of hate speech and fake news poses a threat to the fabric of our society.
“As we review the 2023 elections, let us candidly address the issue of hate speech and misinformation, seeking ways to combat them without infringing on the principles of free speech. Additionally, we must discuss how to ensure equitable access to media platforms for all political actors, promoting inclusivity and fair representation,” Isiguzo said.