In the light of this, the following are the guidelines for accreditation journalist and media organisations wishing to cover the 2023 General Election.
2.0 APPLICATION FOR ACCREDITATION:
Media organisations intending to deploy journalists to cover the 2023 General Election shall apply online to the commission. Each organisation shall attach and upload onto the accreditation portal the list of all staff it wishes to deploy in their various states.
The portal will be open on Thursday, 5th January, 2023 and close on Sunday, 5th February, 2023.
3.0 LIAISON PERSONNEL:
To ensure a seamless accreditation exercise, each media organisation is required to assign a nominee as well as liaise with the Department of Voter Education and Publicity in the states for processing of applications.
4.0 DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR ACCREDITATION:
(a) The contact person of the organisation is required to upload current passport photographs (required size) and work I.D of every staff that will be involved in the coverage of the elections.
(b) The contact person is also required to upload a covering letter from his/her organisation containing the names and duties of officers his/her organisation wishes to deploy (e.g. Reporter, Camera Operator, Translator, Driver, etc).
(c) Online Media organisations will be required to provide their website addresses with evidence of recent posts (i.e regular posts in the last 30 days preceeding the date of the application).
(d) Print Journalists may be required to scan and upload at least threee recents editions of their publications.
5.0 SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS:
All documents shall be submitted in soft copies through the dedicated online portal as provided above. No hard copy submission will be accepted.
6.0 DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF APPLICANTS:
Submission of all applications and documents for accreditation for the 2023 General Election will end up at 5.00pm on Sunday, 5th Feburary, 2023.
No late submission shall be entertained as the portal will automatically shut down at the expiration of the submission period and there will be no room for manual accreditation
7.0 COLLECTION OF KITS
Journalists/Media organisations whose applicants are successful will collect accreditation kits on Monday, 13th to Friday, 17th February at designated centers in the states while collection in the FCT will be at the INEC Headquaters (Annex), No. 10 Blantyre Street, Wuse 2, Abuja. Collection of kits will be from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm daily
8.0 ACCESS TO COLLATION CENTRES:
INEC will allow only one accredited representative per radio station two per television station (reporter and cameraman) as well as two per newspaper (reporter and photographer) to each collation centre.
9.0 RESPONSIBILITIES OF ACCREDITED JOURNALISTS:
Accredited Journalists and allied staff have the right to cover all election procedures within the respective jurisdictions for which they have been accredited. They are expected to strictly abide by relevant laws, INEC Regulations and Guidelines, Rules and Codes from relevant Regulatory Bodies as well as the ethics of journalism.
10.0 JOURNALISTS ARE TO:
a. Display their photo identification Tags issued by Commission at all times.
b. Be at polling unit from the opening of poll on Election day to observe all stages of the polling process – from voter accreditation, through the voting period , to the counting of ballot papers and pasting of results – provided they do not interfere with polling processes or compromise the voters statutory right to secrecy of his/her vote.
c. Move around the polling units as long as their movements do not obstruct the voting process or the work of the poll officials, interview voters, observers or other persons within the polling environment without interfering with the polling process
d. Observe of the deployment of sensitive materials and retrieval of used and unused sensitive materials after the polling processes.
11.0 JOURNALISTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO:
(a) Film or take photographs of any individual within the polling zone without his/her consent.
(b) Film or photograph any voter marking a ballot paper.
(c) Photograph, acquire pictures, film footage or audio commentary that reveals personal details of the voter.
(d) Film, photograph or copy the Register of voters, voters card or any other document(s) as would infringe on the privacy of any voter
(e) Handle any polling material
12.0 LINE OF AUTHORITY/OBEDIENCE TO LAWFUL DIRECTIONS:
Accredited Journalists, like everyone else in the polling environment shall be subject to directives and control of the Presiding Officer.
INEC reserves the right to withdraw and revoke at anytime the accreditation of any journalist who defies the directives of any Presiding Officer or Authorized INEC official or who violates the provisions of law, regulation, code or professional codes of journalism practice.
a. INEC reserves the rights to withhold accreditation for any organization or journalist whose professional identity could not be verified.
b. There shall be no manual accreditation.
c. Only accredited media representatives will be allowed free movements or access to polling units, collation centers or any INEC office facility.
d. Accreditation tags will stand as a pass for both the Presidential/Senatorial House or Representatives election of Saturday, 25th February, 2023 and the Governorship/State Houses of Assembly election of Saturday, 11th March 2023
e. Media organizations are expected to liaise with the HOD, VEP in their respective states to process the applications.
f. Applicants once filled and submitted cannot be reversed.