The Center for Media Studies and Peace-building, (CEMESP) has concluded a three-day training of Community Radio Journalists in Gompa City, Nimba County on how they can effectively cover and report elections in a conflict sensitive manner.
The intervention as a preparedness plan for the pending elections is in line with the Liberia Media Activity Project supported by USAID, through Internews.
Providing an overview of the training Lead Trainer Frank Sainworla reminded the journalists that they should use the training contents as tools for professional engagement in guarding against the host of conflict prone issues that are foreseeable based on prevailing trends at this phase of the electoral cycle.
He said journalists must know the rules governing the elections to be able to transmit them in holding politicians and political parties to account when they flout such rules.
Senior Program Officer of the Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, Albert Baron Ansu entreated the training’s recipients about being very sensitive to the safety issues that come with the coverage of elections by applying skills and resources transmitted in the training for credible and peaceful electoral outcome.
He described the training as experience sharing in nature where the trainers tease out county specific insights from the community radio journalists from Maryland, River Gee, Lofa Grand Gedeh and Nimba counties.
Scenarios were created as practical exercises for the journalists to go into groups and brainstorm on how to respond to such situations that might arise during the electoral cycle.
The journalists were a blend of male and female, some of whom had prior exposure to such training contents and needed to brush up and there were those who indicated that this is their first time to benefit from elections and conflict sensitive reporting..
The training had been very engaging with the provoking questions that the Trainers Nobantu Ncube Taylor and Dixon Tunateh Penie provided answers and references to sources to follow up in better understanding such issues.
The journalists were cautioned against fake news that are replete in social media and use fact checking skills of asking the right question from authorities and use tact to detect images and sound bites that have the potential of causing unintended consequences.
The Journalists also discussed the power of music in promoting peace during elections.