The IFJ joined a regional meeting organised on July 8-10 2003 in Accra (Ghana) by the Media Foundation for Western Africa (MFWA, based in Accra), International Media Support (IMS), UNESCO and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The objective of the meeting was to develop a strategic & regional programme of action involving a number of partners working in the region, with a specific focus on Liberia and Ivory Coast. The partnership would involve UN departments and agencies, NGOs, donors and journalists in the Western Africa region dedicated to averting and mitigating conflicts and their humanitarian consequences.
The meeting represented an unique opportunity for a fruitful exchange of experiences between a number of organisations working on the ground or planning local activities (MFWA, Panos, Media Action International, IFJ, IMS, UNESCO, OCHA) and local organisations from Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast. The IFJ was invited to address the “challenges of professional media organisations in conflict situations”, which represented an opportunity to present recent initiatives in the field of safety and conflict reporting.
The seminar particularly focus on an assessment of needs and constraints, a stakeholders analysis and an exchange of best practices in Liberia and Ivory Coast. It was suggested that a regional action plan could be developed on the basis of the main recommendations, which were indeed similar in both cases. The plan would address Western Africa countries in transition (i.e. Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea).
The identified priorities cover the following headings:
- media and conflict coverage
- legal & institutional reform
- media empowerment
- association building and trade union development – ethics
- early warning mechanisms