The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in coordination with the European Union (EU) funded a customised BRIDGE workshop – Media and Election, Voter Information in Djerba – Tunisia for the period 12 – 16 October 2014. The main objectives of the workshop were to strengthen the knowledge and experience of the High National Election Commission (HNEC) and all stakeholders involved in Media and Voter Information process, and strengthen in particular the capacities of participants from HNEC so they can continue conducting credible and effective elections in a transparent, democratic governance environment. The workshop facilitators were Bassam Alyaseri, Anan Sorri and Ahmed Alameri.
The participants included HNEC, External stakeholders from the Media, and Civil Society Organisations from most parts of Libya.
Since the first day of the workshop, the atmosphere was full of positive and useful discussions about Media and Elections. The various levels of knowledge and experience amongst participants contributed to an opportunity for some of the participants from HNEC to share their thoughts and wealth of knowledge with other participants from external stakeholders.
The following subjects were discussed during the course of the workshop:
· Electoral principles, structures and processes as they affect media regulation
· Campaign and election coverage, voter education and Mechanisms for communication between EMBs and media in advance of an electoral process.
· Different types of voter information and education programs.
· Different media tools used in voter information and education programs
· Program Elements – Preparation, Design and Planning, Implementation, Issues and Evaluation
Other themes including access, conflict management, legal framework for media and the use of technology were discussed in details and how these themes can affect the process. In addition, there was a better understanding about the importance of considering crosscutting themes in all aspects of the electoral process in all electoral process aspects including media and voter information.
As a result of the five-day workshop, participants gained and shared their knowledge as well as understanding of the following:
· Reviewing concepts of Media and Voter Information and exploration of methods to strengthen the relationship between the Media institutes and HNEC.
· General agreement about the guiding principles for Media and Voter Information.
The BRIDGE workshop was a great success where every aspect (content, methodology, international resources, standard and principles) has been incorporated into the implementation of the workshop.