Kogi, Bayelsa, Imo polls: Ensure your personal safety, IPC charges journalists

The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos, on Friday charged journalists and others on electoral duty in the Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo states governorship elections to be held Saturday (today) to ensure their personal safety.

The Centre in a statement by its executive director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, also called on security operatives and other stakeholders to protect the journalists on official assignment in the elections.

According to the Centre, the call became imperative 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,” the statement read in part.

It noted that journalists should during the elections be non-partisan, dress smart, avoid walking or moving alone as well as put INEC accreditation card and have their organisational identity card on 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,’ the statement read further.

Admonishing other stakeholders, especially security agencies, to undertake their tasks in a very professional manner, the Centre 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.”