The National Elections Commission (NEC) is conducting a series of regional training workshops on elections reporting for Liberian Journalists on the theme “Objective media reporting contributes to peaceful and credible elections 2023,” aimed at advancing their skills ahead of the October 10 national elections.
These workshops are taking place from June 8-20, in four locations across the country — Grand Bassa, Bomi, Nimba, and Bong — as part of efforts by NEC, with support from the UNDP Liberia Electoral Support Project (LESP), to improve the capacity of media practitioners to report on sensitive electoral issues in a way that sustains peace, promotes nonviolent elections while adhering to the highest ethical and professional standards.
In her opening remarks at the first session held from June 8-9 in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County for over 40 media personnel, the Chairperson of NEC, Davidetta Brown-Lansana encouraged Journalists to cultivate accurate information dissemination in the pending elections.
Lansana said responsible journalism is crucial to the success of the 2023 national elections.
“The media has a social responsibility to inform and educate citizens and voters on the elections processes in a way that will create a level playing field, fair and equal treatment of all participants in the election process, and help citizens make informed decisions,” she said.
The NEC Chairperson mentioned that misinformation and disinformation have a negative impact on how Liberians perceive each other as citizens and are key factors responsible for the level of hatred in the country.
Speaking earlier, UNDP Capacity Strengthening Specialist, Zage Filliposki urged media personnel to support the peaceful conduct of the election and beyond.
Filliposki said peace is paramount to the existence of Liberia and all its citizens have a responsibility to sustain it.
Also speaking, Internews Senior Media Advisor, Jefferson Massah emphasized the need for media practitioners to formulate ways to build on the democratic gains the country has made since the end of Liberia’s 14-year war.
The workshops supported by LESP basket fund donors Sweden, Ireland/Irish-AID, and European Union in partnership with Internews and Local Voices are bringing together media owners, editors, and journalists to discuss the significance of the media in elections and strategies to prevent and combat the detrimental effects of inflammatory/hate speech, misinformation, and disinformation in the media.
They will cover the role of the media in peacebuilding and the promotion of nonviolent elections, in line with the Farmington Declaration signed by the political parties and the NEC in April 2023, with support from the UN and ECOWAS, committing to a peaceful and non-violent election in October 2023.
Media practitioners are also using the workshops to review various documents, including Standard Operating Procedures for Security Agencies and Media in Elections, the Protocol between the NEC and Registered Political Parties on Violence Against Women in Elections and Politics in Liberia (VAWiE/P), and the Media Code of Conduct among others.