WEST AFRICAN JOURNALISTS TASKED ON CONFLICT-SENSITIVE REPORTING

(Abuja, June 27, 2018:) The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has tasked journalists in the region to be conflict-sensitive reporters. This, according to the Commission, will enable the journalists to help consolidate ECOWAS’ peace building and conflict resolution processes,
A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says the remarks were made during the opening a of three-day workshop on the role of the media in promoting peace and security in West Africa. The opening session took place on Monday, the 25th of June 2018 at the ECOWAS Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria.
Two female Liberian journalists, Mrs. Siatta Scott-Johnson and Mrs. Winnie Sayway Jimmy are representing Liberia at the workshop that will enable the building of effective channels of communication, visibility and networking towards the successful implementation of ECOWAS peace and security agenda.
The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) General Francis Behanzincharged the journalists, drawn from all the 15-Member States of the Community, to be committed to the attainment of Vision 2020 which seeks to have an ECOWAS of the people rather than of States.
Speaking through the Director for Political Affairs,Dr.AderemiAjibewa, the Commissioner stated that as the fourth estate of the realm, journalists in the region are “indirectly the real decision makers” on account of their being “the history, the memory, the culture of our the citizens, the voice of the voiceless, the active actors, (and) opinion makers”
Welcoming participants to the Workshop, the ECOWAS Commission’s Ag Director of Communication Mr. LiberorDoscofAho who was represented by Mr. Arthur Obayuwana stressed that the exercise is one of the series of “refresher courses” primed to enhance the capacity of journalists to better inform the 300 million citizens of West African region.
It will help create the necessary awareness and provide sustained visibility for integration activities while promoting peace and security in the ECOWAS region” the release quotes him.
In his remarks, the Manager, ECOWAS Peace Fund, Mr. DieudonneNikiema, held that Information and Communication are an important component for the joint construction of ECOWAS Vision 2020. He expressed the hope that in close collaboration, The ECOWAS Commission and journalists would share valuable and useful information which can be employed to “co-build a partnership and communication network to support the ECOWAS peace and security agenda”
He thanked the European Union (EU) for its continued support of the regional integration programme and the peace and security architecture in West Africa while noting the enthusiasm for and commitment of the selected journalists to become partners for peace building and stability.
In a key note address to participants, the Head, Regional Cooperation Section of the EU Ms Stefania Marrone restated the aim of the EU support to ECOWAS Peace, Security and Stability (PSS) Mandate Project which is to “support ECOWAS in its objective to ensure the security and safety of its people by proactive, peaceful means”.
According to the release, the workshop facilitated by consultant Paul Ejime, will feature recommendations for best practices in the peace building and conflict resolution mandate of the ECOWAS Commission.
The workshop ends on Thursday, the 28th of June, 2018, the release concludes.

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