INEC demands deeper collaboration with media to combat fake news
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for stronger collaboration with the media in the efforts to combat fake news.
The electoral body said on Tuesday in Akwanga, Nasarawa State, that the collaboration would also minimize misinformation and disinformation about the electoral process.
INEC made the call through the Chief Press Secretary to its Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, at a two-day capacity workshop for INEC Press Corps.
The workshop focuses on “Ethics, Safety, Practices and Critical Issues Relating to the Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa governorship elections”.
Oyekanmi’s presentation was titled “Impact of fake news, misinformation and Disinformation on election information: INEC’s Experience”.
Oyekanmi said that misinformation and fake news were among the major challenges INEC faced while conducting the 2023 general elections.
He said that the trend was a threat to democracy and was not limited to social media alone.
“Some conventional mediums also fell for the fake news or misinformation that emanated from the social media,” he recalled.
He also recalled how some citizens and social media influencers spread fake news regarding the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, the collection of Permanent Voter Cards, and the recruitment of staff for INEC.
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There were also some falsehoods related to ethnicity and the elections, he added.
He said that many journalists also fell for such fake claims because of sentiments and individual prejudices.
“We had many situations where fake news got published without any form of verification. No questions asked about their authenticity,” he fumed.
He said that journalists had the responsibility to report facts without taking sides on every matter, including the election process.
“Facts are sacred. It is fundamentally important to present accurate and verifiable information.
“Journalists have a responsibility to report facts without distorting them to fit a particular narrative. The public relies on the media for truthful accounts of events,” he said.
Oyekanmi added that a strong collaboration between INEC and the media was critical for a proactive approach to curbing fake news, disinformation, and misinformation.
He urged the media to be factual, objective, truthful, and fair in their reports on the electoral process.
“Conducting free, fair, credible, and inclusive elections is a collective responsibility.
“INEC will continue to provide the media with access to the relevant information it requires,” he promised.