25 February 2018

West Africa: MFWA, Partners Promote Media Safety Ahead of Sierra Leone's 2018 Election

Sierra Leoneans take to the polls in Freetown, the capital of the West African nation.
press release

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in partnership with the International Media Support (IMS), Denmark and in collaboration with ECOWAS and Sierra Leone-based Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) is implementing a rapid response intervention aimed at addressing media safety issues before, during and after the 2018 elections in Sierra Leone.

The intervention seeks to ensure safety of media workers to enable them produce reliable and professional reporting that contributes to credible and peaceful elections.

This intervention will begin with a two-day hands-on training on how to provide credible, efficient and professional coverage of the elections while staying safe for 20 senior journalists and editors on 26 & 27 February, 2018. The training will feature both local and international trainers who will build the capacity of journalists to report effectively on election-related issues and how to work effectively with police and security forces.

The intervention will also provide an opportunity for experience sharing between the Ghana, Liberia and the Sierra Leonean Police on promoting the safety and security of journalists during electioneering period; capacity support to journalists in Sierra Leone with regards to ensuring their safety while covering the elections as well as a space for dialogues between Sierra Leone security forces especially the police and media workers.

An experience-sharing forum between the Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Police will be held on February 27. Senior Police Officers from Ghana and Liberia who were part of the leadership of election security management of their respective countries; senior ECOWAS Officials, the IMS will discuss and share experiences with members of the leadership of the Sierra Leonean police who will be responsible for elections security.

This will be followed by a Police-Media forum on February 28 where senior editors and journalists, Sierra Leone Police, the International Media Support, Denmark, representatives from ECOWAS and the local office of UNDP, senior official from the Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission and other key actors will discuss modalities for police-media co-operation and safety of journalists during the coverage of the elections.

Ahead of Ghana and Liberia's elections in 2016 and 2017 respectively, the MFWA and IMS implemented similar interventions that contributed immensely to ensuring that the police included the safety and security of journalists in their operational plan.

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