The European Union and Germany co-funded ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) Project, implemented by GIZ, has commenced a two-day training for media editors and chief executives on election reporting to prevent violence ahead of the forthcoming general elections in Sierra Leone.
The media training is facilitated by the ECOWAS Democracy and Good Governance Division (DGGD), in collaboration with the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (SL), the Independent Media Commission (IMC) and the Sierra Leone Association of Journalist (SLAJ), in recognition of the important role of the media during elections, as well as the importance of good and mutually reinforcing cooperation between the media and national election management bodies in the delivery of peaceful, transparent, inclusive, and credible elections.
This engagement takes place the Sierra Palms Hotel, starting from 25-26 May 2023 in Freetown, and will bring together about 40 editors and Chief executives drawn from across different segments (online, print, and electronic media) in Sierra Leone. The initiative builds on a previous support in which media practitioners were trained on the topic across three districts of the country in June 2022.
The main aim of the engagement is to facilitate experience sharing amongst Chief Executives and Senior Editors on how the media can strike a balance in its reportage to provide a conducive atmosphere for the conduct of peaceful and democratic elections in Sierra Leone.
At the end of the trainings, it is hoped that media houses would be equipped with best practices to deliberately de-escalate political tension among citizens, and supporters of political parties during electoral period through peace journalism and be strengthened to report credibly, professionally, and objectively during the electioneering.
The trainings are also expected to promote the fostering of a more cordial relationship between the media and the ECSL, as well as to raise the awareness of media practitioners in Sierra Leone on various international and regional standards for election reporting including “ECOWAS Norms and Standards for the Media in the Promotion of Peace and Security in West Africa.”
The EPSAO Project supports the ECOWAS Commission in its mandate to address regional peace and security threats through strengthening of capacities in four crucial policy areas including: Peace Support Operations, Conflict Prevention, Security Sector Reform and Governance (SSRG) as well as in Electoral Affairs. The EPSAO Projects seeks to address the root causes and to promote collective action and joint regional strategies by ECOWAS Member States to curb conflict and insecurity, including rebellions, violent extremism, communal violence, the spread of illicit small arms and light weapons, piracy, land-use conflicts, and election-related violence.