September 21, 2016 By Alusine Sesay
The Media Reform Coordinating Group (MRCG) in collaboration with Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) yesterday enlightened journalists on the ECOWAS protocols on Good Governance and Democracy and Fair Economic Redistribution.
The seminar was climaxed by the formation of a network of journalists, who would be educating the public on the ECOWAS protocols as well as reminding the government of its obligations to citizens with regards the implementation of the sub-regional body’s pro-poor policies.
Chairman of the MRCG Board, Ransford Wright, told participants that their partnership with MFWA was in line with priority four of the institution-media capacity building and that the training was necessitated by a baseline survey undertaken by MFWA on the knowledge of ECOWAS in Sierra Leone.
He said the pilot project to train journalists on the ECOWAS protocols was being implemented in four other countries – Liberia, Guinea, Ghana and Nigeria.
He noted that since citizens were ignorant of the ECOWAS protocols, they could not hold the government to account.
“We consider how we use our media space to educate the public on the ECOWAS protocols,” he said.
Abigail Larbi from te Accra-based MFWA observed that the rate of inequality in Africa was growing, with the rich getting richer and the poor were getting poorer.
“The gap of inequality still exists and it is a question of how we as media people could bridge that gap,” she said.
She pointed out that a lot of social vices like armed robbery, among others, were taking place because people feel left out in policy formulation and implementation, hence they always find options to eke out their living.
She said it was good that journalists understand the ECOWAS protocols, thus her organisation thought it fit to organise the seminar in a bid to build their capacity in understanding the protocols.
Senior Lecturer at the Mass Communications Department, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Francis Sowa, educated participants on ECOWAS as institution, the protocol on Good Governance and Democracy, Frameworks on Pro-Poor Policies and Fair Economic Redistribution.
Madam Olufela Adeyemi from MFWA did a presentation on the findings of the baseline assessment of citizens, civil society and media awareness of the ECOWAS protocol on Good Governance and Democracy in Sierra Leone.
The survey revealed low percentage of knowledge about the ECOWAS protocol among journalists, civil society and ordinary citizens of Sierra Leone.