By: r. Joyclyn wea
MONROVIA-A two-day Election Reporting and Journalism Workshop ahead of the pending 2021 by-elections has jointly organized by Internews-Liberia, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Elections Commission (NEC).
The two days event taking place in Ganta, Nimba County begins October 21, 2021 to October 22, 2021 bring together 25 journalists from Montserrado, Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties and is to enhance their skill in the areas of conflict sensitive reporting and misinformation.
The National Elections Commission is about to conduct by-elections in four electoral districts in Bong, Nimba, Bomi and Grand Gedeh Counties on November 16, 2021.
Internews Liberia is partnering with NEC and UNDP to enhance the skills of journalists as they gi o about reporting on activities leading to by-elections in order to counter misinformation.
At the opening of the training session, Press Union of Liberia President, Charles Coffey, commended partners including Internews and NEC for the initiative, saying that elections globally are tension-laden that could result to conflict or crisis if the media closes its eyes.
Coffey said the training is timely as tension is already said to be mounting in areas where these by-elections are expected to take place. He stressed the need for journalists to be conflict sensitive, balance and making sure to get sides of all parties involved.
“The Union will continue to work with the partners. We urge of you to open your minds and ensure you acquire the skills needed to serve as good journalists. If you will report electoral matters that are not true, or that have the potential of causing conflict, the country will degenerate into a chaotic situation,” he added.
Similarly; Internews Deputy Chief of Party Jefferson Massah lauded journalists who took up time to enhance their skills in election reporting from a conflict sensitive perspective.
Internews is a US-Based development organization that has been operating in Liberia since 2014, providing support to media sector not only training journalists but also engaging into reform to include the legal environment in Liberia and engaging into effort to ensure community radio stations survived among others.
As part of the institution new project expected to run for five years, Massah said Internews is partnering with the UNDP and NEC to jumpstart early engagement and to roll-out regional workshops for journalists before beginning its new projects.
“We are concentrating on the journalism component of the training, ensuring that we have the needed training materials or information that journalists can utilize at the community radio level to create a space where everyone will be hear, not to promote fake news, but rather counter fake news to ensure credible, balance, and accurate information for public consumption,” he added.