Journalists urged to join efforts toward reversing democratic decline in West Africa
The West Africa Democracy Solidarity (WADEMOS) Network has charged media organizations and journalists to support the work of pro-democracy actors in halting the decline of democracy within the West Africa sub-region.
The Network, which comprises over 35 civil society organizations (CSOs) and pro-democracy actors within West Africa, believes the media constitute one of the key institutions that can contribute to addressing the growing threats to peace and stability in the ECOWAS region.
A statement issued by WADEMOS, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said Mr Kevin Kop’ep Dabugat, Coordinator of the WADEMOS Network, in an address to journalists from across West Africa during a virtual press briefing urged them to advance democratic norms in the sub-region.
“WADEMOS is a citizen’s response to anti-democratic tendencies, which is in line with ECOWAS’ vision to move from an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of peoples. You [the media] are a key source of information for many people, and that makes you a very important institution,” he said.
“WADEMOS has members in all West African countries, and since the media gathered here are also from across the sub-region, we believe you are an important stakeholder, and we would like to work with you beyond our launch or this virtual press briefing.
“Press freedom is one of the benchmarks used to ascertain the democratic credentials of a country. And that revolves around the work you do.”
Mr Dabugat said WADEMOS had several thematic areas of interest, and one was to ensure press and media freedoms were safeguarded.
“So, you have a huge role to play as journalists in advancing our democracy, and that is why you have to be interested in advancing the cause of democracy,” he added.
The statement said the virtual press briefing, which was attended by journalists from across the sub-region, served as an opportunity for the Network to interact with media practitioners about the recent happenings within the sub-region.
It also allowed journalists to understand the structure and objectives of WADEMOS and the impact it seeks to have.
It said the journalists also had the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarifications on several issues within the sub-region and the operations of the Network.
The statement said the Network launch was set to take place from September 14-16 in Accra, Ghana with high-profile dignitaries from the African Union, ECOWAS and other regional and sub-regional bodies in attendance.
The West Africa Democracy Solidarity (WADEMOS) Network is a non-partisan, independent civil society-led transnational democracy solidarity network consisting of over thirty-five (35) civil society organizations located in 15 countries in West Africa.
The purpose of the WADEMOS Network is to mobilise, coordinate, and leverage the collective power of civil society and other pro-democracy actors, resources, and opportunities within the West African Region to advance, defend, and reinvigorate democracy and promote democratic norms and reforms in the sub-region.