DR Congo: Target is training journalists on interpreting polls during elections’ period


Target agency organized Saturday, February 12th, 2016 at Kinshasa, in collaboration with communication agency Congo Facilités a workshop seminary designed for about twenty broadcasting as well as print media journalists at Kinshasa. The said seminary hold at disabled persons’ center aimed at training these media professionals on interpreting polls during elections’ period. Which is a not very widespread practice in DR Congo?

Serge Mumbu, Target Agency General Manager, who was leading the conference underlined in his introduction that political polls, especially on elections’ subject, are relevant implementation of democracy and should be included in politics. Journalists are therefore interested by this subject insofar as media is disseminating polls’ results.

A poll is defined as: “achievement of a questionnaire towards a sample of people in order to propose an assessment of sharing out as regards the entire population opinion/preference. Thanks to this, it shall be possible to reduce and assess people opinions.”

Polls are most of time related to current news. In the event of polls during elections period, Serge MUMBU explained that they can relate to both varied as well as popular subjects as regards a politician, new tendencies and a brand fame. In this specific case of DR Congo, polls can relate on the following:       

  • Vote intentions
  • Inundations
  • Electricity
  • Political decision popularity

Then Target General  Manager drawn up a historical overview regarding the beginning and evolution of opinion polls since dark ages up to date. He underlined that from 1960 in The West, poll organizations specializing in elections’ matter were multiplied (SOFRES, GFK, INED, Nielsen, IPSOS, BVA, etc.). Most of these organizations owe their fame to these polls while these latter only represent 1 percent of their turnover. 

Thus, for these political polls, there exists: pre-election polls, post – election polls, polls named “exit polls”, polls on political burning issues.

Further, Target boss specified that after current tendencies, polls are ordered by media, political leaders, companies, NGOs and organizations, and researchers in social sciences. Then Journalists were thereafter instructed on steps to follow for performing a poll, methods of data collection and sampling.    

Media and polls during elections’ period 

Polls during elections’ period present several advantages, as shown by Serge Mumbu. They allow for example conditioning of candidate strategy for power conquest, having a panoramic overview on voters’ expectations and they constitute a genuine occasion of freedom of expression in democratic systems. In view of some tangible cases experienced in France and United States, the speaker of that day pointed out how thanks polls, political leaders succeed in reversing the tendency and won elections.

On the other hand, Elections’ polls have got a weak impact in Africa. Several reasons are explaining this issue. Amongst which are: lack of polls’ culture, polls’ manipulation by the stronger leaders, lack of credibility of poll organizations… Tangible cases have been analyzed for Ivory Coast, Togo and DR Congo whereas elections’ polls are especially locally produced. Media organizations that are supposed to provide accurate information should therefore make upstream participation in design of polls, selection of issues to be dealt with as well as development of questionnaire… and they should also make downstream participation in editorial, polls’ results interpreting and explanation.   

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