The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Wednesday, held a sensitization and interactive workshop with media Executives and Bloggers to curb the wide spread of fake news in the build up of the Anambra gubernatorial elections, in Awka, Anambra State.
The forum was declared opened and and anchored by Mrs, Chinwe Ogbuka, Assistant Director, New Media, after the arrival and registration of participants.
The opening remarks and the aims and objectives for the workshop was delivered by Mr, Victor Aluko, Director, Voter Education and Publicity –VEP.
He mentioned that meeting was an opportunity for the INEC to interact with journalists and the media as stakeholders in the build up of the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Anambra State. He emphasized that the meeting was not a press conference but a get together to share ideas on how to create a conducive voting environment for the election.
Moving on, the Anambra State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, represented by Chief China Duruaku, recounted how important and powerful information is, and the need to use it properly. He stated that the program was not one of those rituals or ceremonies that comes with elections, but a multi-stakeholder undertaken.
According to him, “Election is not an event but a process. It is my convictions that the conduct of elections is a multi-stakeholder undertaken, it is not an INEC undertaken alone. In the INEC public, the media is an important part of that public”.
He stressed that the INEC had made remarkable progress in preparation for the Anambra gubernatorial election. One of which is the voter expansion access project particularly in Anambra State; from 1112 polling units to 5720 polling units, to allow for easy access to the 2,525,471 registered voters in Anambra State.
During the question/interactive session, he charged media organizations as the gatekeeper of the fourth realm and stakeholders, to utterly shun yellow journalism and fake news, verify news items before releasing to the public, hold trainings for staff, and sanction staff who have penchants for share and spread fake news.
He also reiterated the INEC’s readiness and preparations for the November 6th Anambra State election which is in less than a month time.