Speaking at the training program, PUL President Charles Coffey urged reporters to use those methods that were taught during the training to enable a balanced and peaceful reportage as the upcoming election is very critical.
Mr. Coffey said that the media have a responsibility to ensure harmony in the society through communicating beneficial information for all the people, and should not capture profane words used by news makers in their writing.
By doing this, he noted that the media can further benefit themselves from being used as tools to form peaceful links between changing political interests to build peace and resolve conflict in the country.
The training which featured lecture on the definition of conflict, the essentials of good journalism, what are media laws and ethics, and social media usage and conflict preventions among others, brought together 25 participates from five of Liberia’s 15 counties.
Teaching on the essentials of good quality journalism, S. Kpanbayeazee Duworko cautioned media practitioners not to be seen as the promoters or spokespersons of a particular political parties or candidates.
Mr. Duworko explained that when media practitioners conduct themselves like the spokespersons or promoters of political parties, their independence and watchdog role is transferred.
Another lecturer, T. C Borley, speaking on social media usage and conflict prevention said, the media in the upcoming elections have the ability to influence public opinion, public policy, the platforms of political parties, and in affecting the conduct of elections by what they write or read in their news.
As such, she noted the reduction of in-sighting comments made by politicians in the reportage of reporters is key to peace building and conflict resolution in the upcoming election.
“Let’s avoid or reduce in sighting comments made by politicians in our reportage. Be careful of what you post on social media. Use social media wisely to prevent conflict in our country”, she added.
As part of the PUL project, “Strengthening Conflict Sensitivity in Journalism and Social Media towards Supporting Peaceful Elections in Liberia”, the training was held under the theme; “Promoting Ethical and Professional Standards in Journalism, and Enhance Freedom of Expression for Credible reporting during the 2017 elections”.
The Project is part of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) and support to the Liberian media and social actors for training and capacity building in order to enhance cordial professional relations with politicians and political parties.
The UNESCO funded initiative is seeking the guarantee of quality reportage of the 2017 electoral cycle considering the needs and concerns of all by promoting safety for journalists and others in the media space.
It is first of its kind since the end of the civil war in 2003 that a democratically elected president will transfer power from one democratically elected President to another.
The elections of October will present a defining moment when Liberians will have to demonstrate to themselves and the global community that the dividends of the nearly 14 years of peace have made significant advances toward nation-building, reconciliation, the widening of the democratic space, economic progress, a new international image and greater desire for maintaining peace and stability, among several.