NEC, Partners Empower Journalists to Engage In Ethical, Gender Sensitive Reporting Ahead of 2023 Polls

TUBMANBURG, Bomi County – The National Elections Commission (NEC) with support from Irish Aid, European Union, Sweden Sverige and Peacebuilding Liberia conducted a two-day media dialogue and training in a bid to afford journalists to commit themselves to a peaceful, professional and electoral reporting.

The training was also geared towards elevating gender sensitive reporting and women participation in elections.

It was funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The two-day dialogue workshop, which took place in Tubmanburg, Bomi County brought together journalists from urban and rural Montserrado, Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Bomi Counties.

It was under the theme “committing ourselves to a peaceful and professional electoral reporting and elevate women participation and gender sensitive reporting”.

At the end of the training, journalists committed themselves to reporting professionally and to uphold ethical standards which are all geared towards the peaceful conduct of the October 10 elections.

Speaking during the opening ceremony, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Liberia Electoral Support Project Representative termed as key, the role of the media during the general and presidential elections.

According to Zage Filiposki the peaceful conduct of the October elections strongly lies on the shoulders of the media adding; they are the ones charged with the responsibility to disseminate information to the public in a more ethical and professional way that will ensure peace.

“UNDP has been a strong partner to Liberia for years, supporting them to ensure that elections are hosted in a free, fair, transparent and credible way and by that; peace continues to reign in the Country” he said.

He stressed the need for reporters and talk show presenters to also focus on gender sensitive stories and women participation in the elections among others with special emphasis on the 30% gender inclusiveness and the Violent Against Women in politics protocols (VAWIE).

Also speaking, the president of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL), called on the media to help the country through balance and unbiased reporting; an act she says will greatly help the election process.

“The peace and stability of this country is the sole responsibility of us, the media and by that, we should stand firm in broadcasting messages that will discourage violence,” Madam Johnson admonished.

The FeJAL’s president’s call comes at a time when the National Elections Commission is set to conduct Liberia’s presidential and legislative elections.

She said, “This workshop is not just intended to build our capacity but to have us making commitments that we, as journalists and media practitioners, will ensure peaceful elections in a way we conduct ourselves during these times”.

For his part, the National Elections Commission (NEC) Legal Affairs Commissioner Boakai Dukuly cautioned journalists across the country to report based on facts and not opinions.

Commissioner Dukuly urged all media practitioners to report factual and credible information to the public, something he noted will include the ABC method of journalism.

Dukuly added “it is the responsibility of the media to maintain the peace and stability in the country”.

He reminded the media by saying; this is a critical time for the country and as such, the media should have in mind that the announcement of results to the public strictly lies within the confines of the NEC and not the media, thereby calling on those normally involved in such acts to desist so as to avoid conflict during the elections.

By William Howard and Winifred Sackor

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