EU-SDGN urges media to embrace inclusive reporting of electoral, governance issues


In continuation of its commitment to supporting democratic governance in Nigeria, the European Union (EU) has called on the media to embrace inclusive reporting of electoral processes and other governance issues.

It particularly urged the members of the Fourth Estate of the realm not to neglect the minority groups, especially women, youths, people with disabilities, and smaller political parties, in their reporting.

The EU, which disclosed this during a virtual media engagement facilitated by one of its cohorts under its Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) programme, stressed that the media plays a critical role in shaping public opinion and promoting citizens’ participation in governance and electoral processes.

Speaking during the engagement, a Professor of Journalism and Media Studies, Lagos State University, Prof. Jide Jimoh, emphasised that there is an urgent need for journalists across the country to capture the perspectives of the often-marginalised groups, as this would foster inclusivity, transparency, and accountability within the democratic space.

He said, “The role of the media in this situation is to consciously remember that this society does not belong only to men, the powerful, and people who have the money to drive media presence. There are so many people outside that circle of people that they are reporting, who have meaningful contributions to make in the society. These other groups deserve their voices to be heard, and if the media have this as a philosophical background, they will unconsciously sometimes seek out these groups and let their voices be heard.”

Also speaking, Vaneza Gregory, a Project Coordinator with one of the EU-SDGN cohorts noted that mainstreaming women in electoral and governance reporting is not just a necessity but a responsibility – one that is necessary in forming a more equitable and informed democratic landscape in the country.

“The media should ensure increased representation of women in political reporting by featuring women politicians, analysts, and experts to amplify their voices thereby bringing diverse perspectives to the forefront. We also need to actively challenge, and break gender stereotypes present in political reporting to avoid perpetuating biases and contribute to a more accurate portrayal of women in politics and leadership not just at the national level but at the local and grassroots levels,” she said.

In his remarks, Jake Epelle, urged journalists to continue to be the voice for persons with disabilities by using their platforms to disseminate issues surrounding them and other advocacy efforts. “There is a need for us to look at emerging issues around electoral processes, governance, and the media’s presentation, and see how we can shape those issues to reflect inclusivity,” he said.

Another cohort representative, Tolulope Famonroti, stressed that journalists need to be intentional in driving inclusive reporting concerning marginalised groups across the country. She said, “The media need to focus on the output of young people, women, and persons with disabilities in (political) offices, and their impact in the society. Once their voices are amplified, Nigerians would see that they are not nonentities. They are not to be relegated; they are also Nigerians, and they have equal rights as every other Nigerians, and should not be marginalised.”

Lanre Arogundade, while recognising the important roles that journalists play in advancing democratic governance in Nigeria, called on the media to consciously reflect the perspectives and views of all groups, particularly the marginalised groups, in their coverage of electoral processes.