2023: Sokoto Journalists Pledge Quality Report of Youth Candidates
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, journalists in Sokoto State have pledged to ensure quality reporting of Youth candidates in a bid to project their capacity, competence and character to brighten their chances of winning in the elections scheduled to hold in February and March next year. This commitment was made on Tuesday by the chairman of Nigerian Union of Journalists, Sokoto State, Dalhatu Abdullahi Magori during a media roundtable on reporting youth candidates, organized by Yiaga Africa in the state.
The Chairman decried the exclusion of young people especially when it comes to contesting elections against the older generation, saying this workshop is timely to ensure youth candidates are not under-reported going into the elections. He said, ''Unlike the other big wigs that participate in elections, both young men and women are not adequately reported as it is supposed to be. In this period when more women and youth are participating in the electoral processes, discussing how to better project the participation of youth in the electoral processes is very important”, he said.
Magori said the media have a responsibility to project the strength of young candidates irrespective of their political parties so they can be well known by the electorates as this can inspire them to win elections. “Beyond political parties, the issue is to project the vision, mission and ideas of young candidates to their constituents”, he said.
Also reiterating this stand, the secretary of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Zainab Sani Yelwa said “our stand is with the youth and women because we are all important stakeholders in the process”. She said NAWOJ will do everything it can to use its platform to promote youth and young women irrespective of their political parties. She also said if every media house obeys the political guidelines of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), they will definitely carry every candidate along irrespective of age or gender. She however urged young candidates and their political parties to always reach out to the media whenever they need coverage saying once a media house is invited to cover a political activity, the media is under obligation to cover it.
Some of the journalists recommend that media houses should be intentional in dedicating pages and peak time to report young people running for office ahead of the 2023 general elections.
In his remark, Yiaga Africa's Programs Manager, Ibrahim Faruk revealed the challenges of youth candidacy in elections especially in the area of publicity, saying the workshop aims at enhancing the quality of media reportage of youth candidates. He said the goal of the Roundtable is to deepen the understanding of journalists on youth political participation and to expose them to the challenges of youth candidacy in elections.
"I am glad that we have secured commitment and support of journalists for youth candidates as the elections draw nearer. Going forward, we hope to see news reports that focus on the strength young candidates possess as we go into the 2023 General election", he said.
The roundtable on reporting youth candidates is part of an effort by Yiaga Africa through its TurnUpDemocracy project supported by United Kingdom Aid for International Development (UKAID) to support young candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections.