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Nigerian Journalists Should Set Agenda For Politicians And Guide Electorate – US

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NAN – The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, said journalists in Nigeria must set agenda for politicians and guide the electorate to make informed choices in the February general elections.

Entwistle made the remark in a message to the opening of a five-day workshop for news managers and political reporters on Monday, January 12, 2015 in Kaduna.

The workshop has as its theme, “Community Reporting for Building of Democratic values in the Run-up to the 2015 General Elections’’.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised by the U.S Embassy in Nigeria and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

“Journalists in democracies have the vital task of reporting on issues that voters want politicians to address and helping to hold elected officials accountable for their campaign promises,” Entwistle said.

He said that the electorate depended on journalists to “explain clearly details of policy issues so that voters can go to the ballot box with accurate information to inform their choices”.

According to him, good journalism is fundamental to an election process as it guides and protects the rights of voters to elect leaders based on issues that reflect their communities.

The envoy said that the process would help to produce a stable democratic government elected through a free, credible, inclusive and peaceful electoral process.

Entwistle pledged the support of the U.S Government to free and fair elections in Nigeria and cautioned political leaders against inflammatory comments or supporting acts of intimidation.

“The United States strongly support free, transparent, credible, inclusive, and non violent electoral process.

“We continue to call on Nigerians to refrain from advocating, fomenting, or condoning violence before, during and after the elections.

“We urge political parties and the government to ensure that all registered voters are able to participate freely in a peaceful and transparent process,” he said.

Also in a remark, the NUJ National President, Malam Mohammad Garba, said the workshop was meant to improve the news judgement of journalists as it affected the forthcoming elections.

He said journalists had a key role to play in stabilising democracy and strengthening democratic skills in Nigerians.

Garba said this task would liberate the media from the corruption that had tainted Nigeria’s integrity, so as to remain effective and relevant in promoting democratic values and cultures.

He urged journalists to put the issue of their safety first in the discharge of their duties, enroll into the NUJ insurance scheme, and always comply with ethical standard and professional guidelines.

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