MONROVIA-Media stakeholders have met at D’ Calabash Conference Hall in Monrovia to build consensus around the adaptation of the national framework for the safety of journalists based on UNESCO’s standards.
The event was organized at the behest of the Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, CEMESP in collaboration with the Ghana-based Media Foundation for West Africa.
In attendance at the event was an array of high-profile state actors including Armed Forces of Liberia Chief of Defense staff, Prince C Johnson 111, National Security Advisor Jefferson Karmoh, Deputy Information Minister, Deputy Daniel Gayeyou, Grand Bassa County Representative Vincent Willie, Deputy Presidential Press Secretary Smith Toby, Executive Protection Service Director of Communication Philip Moore and Police Spokesperson Moses Carter.
All of these state actors expressed delight in the initiative and suggested sustained engagement in building the needed cooperation based on mutual respect towards ending attacks and violations of media rights.
The Press Union of Liberia President Charles Coffey and vice president Daniel Nyakona were also present to pledge commitment to the process in terms of educating their constituents on the need to adhere to safety standards, whilst the PUL continued to document instances of attacks and violations meted out to journalists.
The event had an interactive session facilitated by Journalist Frank Sainworla of the Public Trust Media Group, who teased out the conversation around the issues that have stirred attacks on journalists. Generally, participants conceded that the framework document on safety standards in Liberia is timely, as the general elections gets underway in 2023, when the media and security sector are often on a collision course, which causes for cooperation between the sector towards building solid foundation of democracy ad rule of law to thrive in Liberia.
Earlier, Executive Director of CEMESP Malcolm W. Joseph provided an insight into the project as something intended to foster stakeholders’ collaboration in ensuring that the framework developed with shared roles and responsibilities are put into use in consonance with the UN Action Plan on Safety of Journalists.
The event was climaxed by the reflection on the content of the draft framework, with emphasis on the individual and institutional roles of the relevant actors from the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, the Police and other security details, and Development partners, among others.
Stakeholders at the event have requested CEMESP to share the draft framework document on the safety of journalists so that they can have input into it before it will be vetted and adopted.