The Regional Director of UNESCO based in Abuja, Nigeria Mr. Yao Ydo, says elections in any country remain are key to development and growth. He says elections must not be taken for granted, because they put a country on the right track.
Mr. Ydospoke in Monrovia Tuesday,13 June at the start of a two-day electoral reporting workshop organized by the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building or CEMESP, with support from UNESCO.
Addressing reporters at the launch of UNESCO-IPDC project on strengthening conflict sensitivity in journalism, and social media toward supporting peaceful elections in Liberia, the UNESCO regional boss reminds that elections remain a very important period in the life of a country, with obvious challenges as to the best approach toward taking stock, and further consolidating the democratic dividends.
He notes that Liberia like other nations had gone a long way, and the transitional period ahead with presidential and general elections,require great attention to avoid any form of violence.
Liberians go to the polls on October 10th to elect a new President and members of the House of Representatives. Mr. Ydo continues that the opportunity being provided by his organization to provide training for Liberian journalists is no better opportunity than such a period to execute UNESCO's mandate, which is to build peace in the minds of men and women that are more relevant.
"Many a times the professionals of the media, and journalists in particular continue to be targets, subjects to threat and unfortunately sometimes leading to death, because of their opinion in exercise of their duties", he notes, saying this is why UNESCO places a high importance in empowering journalists to increase awareness on freedom of expression and free flow of information.
"This workshop", he stresses,"goes to the heart of UNESCO work as the only United Nations' agency entrusted to defend freedom of expression and press freedom." According to him, Article 1 of its constitution further requires UNESCO to further universal respect for justice, Rule of Law, Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom, which were affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion by the Charter of the U.N.
Mr. Ydo also indicates that UNESCO is therefore required to collaborate in the work of advancing mutual knowledge and understanding of people, through all means of mass communication and to that end, recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote free flow of ideas by words and images.