The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Thursday, urged the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), to lead the fight at curbing fake news ahead of the coming 2023 general elections.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, urged members of GOCOP to form a network or alliance of stakeholders to help contain the menace of the unpatriotic Nigerians behind fake news.
Yakubub was speaking at the 6th Annual Conference of GOCOP, which was held at Ikeja, Lagos, with the theme, “2023 Elections: Managing the process for credible outcome.”
He also assured the guild of an improved electoral process that will ensure free and fair polls.
Besides, INEC Chairman also assured the gathering that the commission would deploy the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing (IReV) Portal to aid transparency in the result.
The chairman said, “GOCOP must lead a network or alliance of stakeholders to curb fake news engineered by unpatriotic individuals. Fake news is a threat to national security and all hands must be on deck to check it. Managing this process requires, in part, concerted efforts. We have noticed that your members have so far steered clear of fake news. We urge you to do more.
“GOCOP should come out strongly in the battle against fake news which is clearly a challenge to the electoral process going forward. We are happy to note that you have your peer review mechanism using your leaders to regularly remind every member of the need for credible journalism. This is highly commendable. We urge you to extend this beyond GOCOP to serve as a bulwark against the menace of fake news.”
Yakubu also appealed to the media for continuous partnership, as they will play a major role in the upcoming election.
“A lot of the activities will take place in the media of which the new media is a critical player. We must continue to work together against the spread of fake news, misinformation and disinformation that seek to create or exacerbate tension or de-legitimise processes and outcomes.” Yakubu said.
Speaking on INEC commitments to credible elections, The INEC boss said, “Votes will continue to count and will be the sole determinant of electoral outcome. For this reason, the Commission has introduced many new innovations, supported by the deployment of appropriate technology, to protect the sanctity of the choice made by Nigerians at the polls ranging from voter registration to voter accreditation and result management.
“The deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) with its dual fingerprint and facial biometric accreditation process has ensured that only genuine voters are accredited to vote during election. This has curtailed the incidence of multiple voting and other sharp practices associated with voter accreditation during elections. The BVAS has come to stay and will be the only means by which voters will be accredited in the 2023 General Election.
“Furthermore, the introduction of the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) Portal has made the result management procedure more transparent. Polling Unit results are now uploaded in real-time to the IReV portal for public view. This has enhanced the transparency, credibility and consequently public confidence in the outcome of elections. The IReV has come to stay and polling unit results will be uploaded to the portal in real-time in the 2023 General Election.” he added.