-Pres. Weah urges journalists to actively and ethically report on electoral processes.

By: Jerromie S. Walters

Ahead of the October 10, 2023 legislative and presidential elections, President George Weah has encouraged Liberian journalists to actively get involved and confine in ethical and professional reporting of processes surrounding the elections, as he believes it is intrinsic in delivering a peaceful process and maintaining the existing peace.

This cal was made to media practitioners Thursday, August 3, 2023, when the President held an interactive session with the press at his Paynesville residence, following curiosity over what he termed as low turnout of reporters, at the National Elections Commission (NEC) recent engagement with presidential candidates.

In his view, the event was crucial to have had the poor attendance of journalists he saw.

As disclosed by the President, the media serves as a primary source of information for voters. It plays a crucial role in informing the public about candidates, their policies, and their positions on various issues. 

This commitment is also enraged with the duty to investigate and report on campaign activities, candidate backgrounds, and potential conflicts of interest, helping to ensure transparency in the electoral process.

It’s of no doubt that the media raises public awareness about the importance of elections and encourages voter participation. It informs citizens about voter registration deadlines which NEC recently exhausted, polling locations, and voting procedures, helping to increase voter turnout.

The crucial role of the media in electoral processes also includes Fact-Checking, especially in the current dispensation. In the era of misinformation and fake news, the media plays a critical role in fact-checking candidates’ statements and claims. Journalists verify information, correct inaccuracies, and provide context, helping voters distinguish between truth and falsehoods.

If all of these are considered, President George Weah said it will play a vital role in exposing election irregularities, fraud, or manipulation, if there is any. 

Overall, he emphasized that the media’s role in elections is essential for fostering an informed electorate, promoting transparency, and safeguarding the integrity of democratic processes.

In his opinion, journalists have a critical role to play in maintaining the peace and security of the state, especially in these times of elections.

In order to ensure that this happens, he encouraged the media practitioners to develop interest in reporting every activities of the electoral processes.

As part of activities leading to the conduct of the October 10, 2033 elections, the National Elections Commission (NEC) on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, officially and formally launched the Civic and Voter Education (CVE) campaign for the October 10 General Elections.

The voter education campaign was launched under the theme: “Citizens Participation, A Must”. The indoor event was held at the Commission’s headquarters in Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia.

At the occasion, Madam Davidetta Brown Lansanah, in her capacity as head of the Commission, declared the Voter Education (CVE) campaign launched, with an aim of educating voters about their participation in the October 10, 2023 general elections.

“Without much I do, I now declare the CVE launch today, here and in all 15 counties across the country,” she declared.

According to her, 400 CSO have been accredited by the Commission to assist the commission to carryout voter education across the country.

In addition, about 81 community based CBE are expected to similarly conduct the voter education process in all 15 counties.

With this, she’s hoping that these efforts will yield the needed fruits, and deliver a massive and encouraging turnout comes October 10, 2023.

Earlier, in the overview of the CVE; Cllr. Ernestine Morgan- Awar alluded that Communication is keen in electoral processes, and it starts with educating and informing the voters about the process.

According to her, the campaign endeavors to take the elections to the people, and generally having them involved throughout.

Like they have exhibited over the last few months, she believes voters must be informed as to how they exercise their political franchise.

“Today we are her to ensure that we launch the process, to ensure that the election is taken to the people to ensure a leading process,” she stated.

Furthermore, she emphasized that the process is enraged with a motive to afford all Liberians, regardless of their physical condition, or political affiliation, the needed education regarding their involvement in the pending elections.

According to a NEC, the campaign which is aimed at enhancing the political participation of all eligible voters will also be launched simultaneously in the other 14 counties.

The Commission has further provided that the aim of the CVE launch is to mobilize all citizens who have attained the age of 18 years and above to participate in the ensuing elections.

To further buttress the sensitization drive of mass community participation in the electoral process, NEC hired Community-Based Organizations (CBO) to serve as CVE cells in the 73 electoral districts to support outreach activities.

At the same time, ECOWAS Ambassador Josephine Nkrumah, emphasized the need for the campaigners to ensure that their inter-personal skills are up to its game, and consider that they are doing a patriotic duty to LIberia.

Considering the fact that they are voters and they accordingly have their sides, she wants them be honest to the process.

According to her, Civics education is a difficult journey, as such, she wants the campaign to ensure that they are well equipped, to provide the needed information.

Meanwhile, she has huge confidence in the team, and is confident that they can deliver the best to the voters. 

Additionally, she said political parties are expected to provide civics education, especially ahead of a crucial elections. She termed the day of the launch of the CVE campaign as a successful one, but called for more efforts. She also expressed excitement over the commitment of aspirants toward the process so far.

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