From Aidoghie Paulinus, AbujaThe Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) has said that the 2023 general elections are critical to the country.The Resident Representative, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Marija Peran, while delivering a welcome address during a capacity-building workshop for selected journalists from across the federation in Abuja, said the 2023 elections will determine the future of the country.The training which was organised in partnership with the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), had as its theme, ‘The Role of the Media in Elections: One-Day Capacity Building on Fact-Checking and Safety of Journalists During the 2023 General Elections.”Peran further said with Nigeria in its third decade of democratic consolidation and many complex conflicts threatening to rupture the country, the Nigerian media is one of the most powerful institutions in the country, adding that its influence and reach should not be underestimated.“The General Elections 2023 are very critical and will determine the future of Nigeria. This means that a functioning media coverage will also be critical. I encourage you to be the watchdogs of these elections, contributing to making the Nigerian democracy stronger,” Peran said.Earlier, Peran said that legislature reporting, an essential part of mass media function, is a significant feature of a parliamentary democracy.According to Peran, “The ideal behind is that both the people and the government benefit from legislature reporting. This specific task of reporting involves multiple activities of the legislature, including the complex process of law making, as well as debates on subjects of public importance. Reporting the proceedings of a legislature is a highly responsible job and requires requisite ability and maturity to take on the task.“The starting point to take on this task, must be to understand not only the proceedings and processes of the branches of government, but also the principles and challenges of governance in Nigeria. With General Elections ahead and faced with fake news and the growing importance of social media in the shaping of public opinions, while at the same time the safety of journalists is at stake, this shows us how relevant and timely it is to train those charged with covering the upcoming general elections. To this end, we meet here today.”Also speaking, the Deputy Director, CJID, Busola Ajibola, said one of the distinct features of democracy, despite its known flaws is the opportunity of periodic elections, a process where citizens get to exercise the accountability power of rewarding good leaders by re-electing them and punishing bad leaders by voting them out or avoiding them altogether.“But how well citizens exercise this power depends greatly on how well the media performs its informative roles. And the question then will be whether we have performed our watchdog role enough in ways that promote rational public discourse that can lead to informed decisions and reflect in the quality of citizens’ choices of representatives.“The society, after all, handed the torch of accountability to journalists — asking that we help hold those who hold power in trust for the public, accountable — and to report back to them and not to any other entity.“But that job is compromised when fact is relegated in the course of our reportage,” Ajibola said.