The ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) on Monday opened a two-day capacity training workshop aimed at developing and sustaining media interest in the delivery of credible, transparent and peaceful elections in the Sub-Region.
ECONEC considers the media as playing key functions as a medium for public information, education and dissemination of useful and factual reports for political inclusiveness , and also to assist other political stakeholders to ensure that citizens lived up to their civic responsibilities and are able to make knowledge-based decisions in the choice of their leaders.
The media workshop which is on the theme; “Professional Reporting of Elections,” is being organised by ECONEC and ECOWAS in collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The ECONEC workshop also seeks to build the capacity media professionals in elections management and reporting, general support and advocacy necessary for the media to become an indispensable participant stakeholder in the democratic process within the ECOWAS region.
The training will also involve media mapping, respect for international standards, message development, peace-building and avoidance of conflict inciting reporting, critical for responsible media systems for effective contribution to electoral integrity and development of the democratic process in the region.
Participants will receive re-orientation on professional ethics and best practices on media reporting during elections and the role of the media throughout the electoral cycle.
It is also a platform to engage with journalists in the conventional and social media sectors focusing on their constitutional and social responsibilities for the protection of national security and promotion of democracy and good governance in the region.
It also serve as the basis to create a corps of well-informed media professionals with requisite skills in election reporting; contribute to the creation of an enlightened electorate, who are able to make informed choices in the election of their leaders for the promotion of credible, transparent and peaceful elections, democracy and good governance in the ECOWAS region.
It would help to reduce conflict/crisis inciting reporting and hate speech during election periods, and thus promote peaceful electoral process across the region; minimise the risks posed by social media and harnessing the advantages of media diversity and pluralism to boost credible and peaceful elections and consolidation of democracy in the region.
It will also build mutually beneficial relationship between the media and other stakeholders including; political leadership, security agencies, Election management Bodies (EMBs), civil society and development partners to promote credible elections and good governance in the region.