Action Aid Liberia in partnership with the Liberian media and the Liberia National Police kicks off an exercise aimed at creating a conducive environment that will lead to free, fair and peaceful elections in the country.
In separate interactive forums, the media and LNP officers converge on Thursday, 5 October at the YWCA, Congo Town, outside Monrovia to discuss ways in contributing positively to peaceful elections. The Coordinator of Youth and Election project at Action Aid Liberia, Joseph Madzvamuse says his institution thought to bring the police and the media together based on their pivotal roles in society. "We recognize the role of the media in sustaining the peace,
therefore, it is very necessary for us to bring members of the media and the LNP to engage in these interactive discussions to promote peace,
especially in the elections period", he says.
Mr. Madzvamuse notes that the forum also highlights human rights violations, especially involving marginalized groups such as girls and women, whose voices are heard in society based on the role of the media, instead of just focusing on the elections coverage. "The role of the media is very critical in this period and after the elections, where there will be a balance in reporting so as to avoid conflict. Most of the foot soldiers are young people, how does the media reportage affect those people?" He asks.
On maintaining the peace, he says the media should be able to identify potential threats during elections and report them so that institutions and organizations working toward peace can immediately arrest those potential threats identified. According to him, media practitioners need to work together through networking to highlight such issues, adding "If there is conflict, the media is to be blamed."
Liberians go to the poll on Tuesday, 10 October to a new president and members of the House of Representatives that would transition political power from one leadership to another, the first in 73 years.