Conference on Media and Inclusion: Amplifying the Voices of Under-represented Groups in the Electoral Process.

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The Institute for Media and Society (IMS) on the 9th of December 2022 concluded a significant initiative under the EU-SDGN II project in Nigeria. Component 4 of the project aimed to enhance media professionalism and capacity, focusing on fair, accurate, ethical, and inclusive coverage of the electoral process. As part of this endeavor, an online conference titled “Media and Inclusion: Amplifying the Voices of Underrepresented Groups in the Electoral Process” was successfully carried out.

 

Engaging Participants:

The virtual conference witnessed the active participation of 40 individuals, including 20 males and 20 females, with a notable representation of six persons with disabilities (PWDs). To ensure accessibility, a female sign language interpreter was present, enabling hearing-impaired participants to engage fully in the discussions.

Addressing Issues and Proposing Solutions:

The conference primarily focused on identifying and addressing the challenges faced by women, people with disabilities, and youths in effectively participating in the electoral process. Thought-provoking discussions led to the identification of various gaps and issues hindering the inclusive participation of these marginalized groups. Subsequently, concrete solutions and recommendations were proposed to tackle the identified issues.

Key Achievements:

By the conclusion of the conference, IMS successfully achieved several significant objectives, including:

  • Increased Awareness: Participants gained a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by people with disabilities throughout the electoral process.
  • Legislative Understanding: The provisions of the 2009 Disability Act and the Electoral Act 2022, aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, were comprehensively explained.
  • Addressing Harmful Practices: Recognition of the harmful traditional practices that individuals with disabilities have endured, highlighting the crucial need for media coverage of these issues.
  • Voting Challenges: Acknowledgment of the unique challenges encountered by people with disabilities at election booths.
  • Mainstreaming Disability Issues: Enhanced understanding of the importance of mainstreaming disability issues in media conversations.
  • Youth Empowerment: Increased awareness of the gaps and challenges faced by youth in the electoral process and the need to promote their active participation.
  • Advocating Youth Inclusion: Recognizing the Significance of youth participation in Nigeria’s electoral process and democratic governance.