Reporters from 21 community radio stations have completed a three day intensive training to effectively report on the upcoming presidential and legislative elections, the training organizers have said.
The training was held in Ganta, Nimba County under the theme, “Community Radio: Vibrant and Sustainable.” It took into consideration the importance of community radio, the state of the radio sector with focus on the United Nations Mission in Liberia’s (UNMIL) transition and laws and legal framework relevant to the community radio sector.
Other topics discussed included the definition of community radio, community radio governance and policy, fundraising initiatives and challenges, looking at the election and how to conduct a debate, PUL code of conduct and technical training on equipment.
The training was organized by Internews in collaboration with the Liberia Media Development Program with funding from the USAID.
The Chief of Party of Internews, Jan McArthur, underscored the important role community radio stations play across the world.
She praised the community radio stations for making a significant impact on the rebuilding of Liberia since 2005 and the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease. Radio stations will now be expected to play a key role in disseminating information to the public in the upcoming October elections, she said.
Local journalists are expected to give good coverage on the elections, telling the public what the government is supposed to do.
Madam Weade Kobba Wureh, vice president for administration of the University of Liberia, who delivered the keynote address, highlighted the need for a proactive and vibrant media to educate the people.
Reflecting on the recently held US elections, Ms. Wureh said the American media was very critical where social media was used to directly speak to the public.
She urged Liberian media practitioners to constructively scrutinize all the characters in the elections, and do so with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism.
“Don’t allow self interest to playdown professional interest as you report on issues affecting the electoral process,” she said.
Earlier, Ganta City Mayor Bejnamin Dokpa praised Internews for the training, but encouraged them to also include other journalists, especially those from Ganta, because, according to him, most of the journalists were becoming partisan journalists.
Willington Geevon Smith, who represented the Ministry of Information, told the journalists to report the story as it unfolds rather than becoming a part of or putting onself in the story.