The Bayelsa State Government, yesterday advised newsmen operating in the state to avoid being used as agents of conflicts ahead of the governorship election fixed for November 2.
The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson gave the advice when the leadership of the Federated Correspondents Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) paid him a visit in Yenagoa.
Iworiso-Markson noted that it was the desire of the government and the people of Bayelsa to have a peaceful election and transition and urged media men to shun groups bent on destabilising the state.
“We are going into a very crucial election and we need the support of the media in the state and beyond.
“Because the eyes of the world will be focusing on Bayelsa State during the election, we want to avoid a situation where the state is thrown into chaos as a result of election.
“Election in Bayelsa State sometimes is described as war, it is not because we don’t know how to conduct ourselves but because we have certain elements among us.
“There are those who want to grab power at all costs at the expense of lives of our people; therefore, it is sad that every election cycle people die as a result of violence and brigandage.
“We have observed that one of the things they do is to use the media to propagate falsehood to stoke the embers of discord among the people.
“As newsmen, you owe it a duty to the state and yourselves that you report all sides, give all sides fair hearing, balance your reports and also resist being used by disgruntled politicians to disseminate outright falsehood.
“We want peaceful elections and peaceful transition in Bayelsa and we are hoping that in this election there will be no casualty.
“And as journalists, we have a huge responsibility to ensure that the environment is safe by not writing to overheat the polity,” he said.
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