LIBERIA:  CEMESP Concludes Civic Space Dialogue with Community Radio Journalists

June 27, 2022:The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, (CEMESP) has concluded a three dialogue with community radio editors on ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance and the African Charter on Democracy Election and Governance.

The training which targeted twenty editors was focused on mobilizing and engaging media leaders to scan domesticated AU and ECOWAS elections legal frameworks in identifying gaps and come out with stories to inspire reforms and actions that ensure free, fair and credible 2023 general and presidential elections in peace and stability in Liberia.

CEMESP undertook the roundtable discussions in Ganta, Nimba County with support from the Canada based  International Freedom of Expression Exchange, IFEX.

At the roundtable dialogue, the participants and facilitators reviewed and discuss the articles, treaties and charters of the African Union as well as ECOWAS’ election monitoring efforts and assistance to member states of the regional economic block.

At the close of session of the three day event the participants stated that it had been an eye opener to many issues contained in articles of the two continental and sub regional instruments which if adhered to and mainstreamed would improve the good governance balance sheet of Liberia.

Providing an over of the project CEMESP Head of Programs Albert Baron Ansu said the project is in line with the civic space objective of IFEX -to create media dialogue around international and regional charters.

He challenged journalists to promote the specific articles that were flagged for dialogue ranging from democracy political, economic and social rights, rule of law, security forces in elections, elections observers role, among other related articles.

The participants showed high enthusiasm in the topics, drawing on local experience to put the issues in context for the dialogue which many of them considered as a stock taking exercise, measuring the level of commitment of government institutions to adapt these charters and protocols that have human rights linkages.

The Ganta discussions around the African Union and ECOWAS Charters, protocols and articles emerged  from the fact that there are huge gaps in the application of these articles in tackling corruption, providing access to justice, protecting media rights, improving on service delivery, public and private sector development, the transition from militarization to securitization-where there are clearly defined roles of civilians in and other para-securitity outfits creating confusion in the dispensation of justice.

With the insights and understanding acquired, the county based journalists reassured that they are going to reflect the tools acquired in deepening good governance, democracy and elections in the content to stimulate citizen’s participation in further discussions that will guide their decision in the pending 2023 elections.

CEMESP meanwhile encouraged the community radio journalists to extend the advocacy and monitoring of the compliance and noncompliance with the protocol not just on radio stations  and in newspapers but also at the level of social media.

CEEMSP says, IFEX has reassured that under this project there could be further support in allaying threats arising from digital safety issues

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