Media and Elections Bridge Course in Liberia

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The 5-Day professional development training on Media and Elections aimed to enhance the capacity of media practitioners in Liberia. It was organized by the National Elections Commission (NEC) of Liberia and supported by the European Union (EU) through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)

The workshop was conducted under the

Media and Elections Module training framework.

The workshop was intended to improve the skills, knowledge and confidence of the media in the electoral process as well as broaden their knowledge in elections reporting.

The roles and responsibilities of journalists to other electoral stakeholders and the provision of equal and equitable access to all electoral contestants were highlights of the training which took place from August 8-12, 2016.

The workshop geared towards strengthening partnership and enforcing the existing framework amongst the mainstream national media establishment in Liberia, the local and community media sector and traditional communication platforms.

Day 1 of the workshop covered: Course Expectations, Background to Bridge Project, Key Understandings and learning outcomes; Code of conduct; Defining the Media; Role of the media; Guiding principles; Media Freedom; Different media types and; The main elements of the EMB-Media Relationship.

Day 2 of the workshop covered: Regulating the media; Regulatory Bodies; Possible issues to be regulated; Covering an Election-Balanced news coverage; Role of the Media during an electoral event and; Media Freedom.

Day 3 agenda provided such topics as: Code of Conduct for the Media in Election; International and National Media; Working with the Media; Principles of Good EMB-Media Relationship; Direct Access; Media Monitoring and; Online Presence.

Day 4 of the workshop covered: Dealing with Defamation; Rules for Media inside the Polling place; Identifying and EMB’s Communication Plan; Media Liaison-Issues; Election Rumors; Media Kits and Guidelines and; Communicating Beyond the Media.

A short video on Press Freedom produced by

MojoNews called 10 Press Freedom Violation Facts was shown to the participants during the workshop on Day 4 to climax the day. The video, which can be found on YouTube, was in part – answer to previous questions asked participants as to their understanding and meaning of press freedom and freedom of speech.

Day 5, the last day of the workshop, covered topics such as: Identifying Disadvantaged Stakeholders Needs; Gender in the Media and Audit of Press Releases.

Each day of the workshop was interspace with coffee breaks, energizers and ice breakers. Participants also engaged in providing energizers and ice breakers throughout the course.

Each day was participatory, with both facilitators and participants drawing on experience of each other.

This ended the 5-day Bridge modular course and participants were awarded certificates at the close.

The 27 Participants of the workshop were drawn from print and electronic media institutions, representing several community and national media institutions in the country.

Participants were also drawn from the European Union, IFES, NEC, INTERNEWS, Front Page Africa, UNMIL Radio, ELBC, Inquirer Newspaper, Liberia Women Democracy Radio, Truth FM, etc.

The workshop was conducted by two females and three males, all Liberians and work for the National Elections Commission of Liberia.

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