“You are only allowed to publish the results pasted on the wall at a polling unit after voting.”
An official of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has threatened to sue online news organizations, including PREMIUM TIMES, who publish election results announced at polling units.
Adenike Tadese, INEC’s Public Relations Officer in Osun State, told online journalists who were at her office for accreditation, Thursday, that they would be liable if they go ahead to publish any election result before INEC’s official announcement.
The gubernatorial election in the state takes place on August 9.
“In fact, we had a meeting over whether online people will be allowed to cover this election. You people always announce the result before INEC,” said Mrs. Tadese.
It is a usual practice for news media to publish results announced at various polling units by INEC officials at the end of voting.
But Mrs. Tadese said that such practices would no longer be tolerated.
“It’s not going to be business as usual again. We will be watching all of you. Anyone that publishes the result announced at a polling booth will be liable,” she added.
However, when contacted, Kayode Idowu, INEC’s national spokesperson, said that the commission only frowned at the publishing of the final result before the Resident Electoral Commissioner makes the announcement.
He said results at polling units announced by the presiding officers could be published by the media.
“You are only allowed to publish the results pasted on the wall at a polling unit after voting,” Mr. Idowu told PREMIUM TIMES.
“But you cannot say that because of the results at some polling units, that Candidate A has won the election. You can’t publish that without INEC announcing the final result,” Mr. Idowu added.
It is not clear why the Osun INEC spokesperson threatened PREMIUM TIMES and other online media with a dubious claim.
But with the clarification by the INEC headquarters, PREMIUM TIMES, as done in previous elections, will present live coverage of the Osun polls including results as announced by presiding officers at polling units.