Report on IFJ mission to Liberia - Partnership for Media and Conflict Prevention in West Africa

In the framework of the Partnership for Media and Conflict Prevention in West Africa, a needs assessment mission took place in Monrovia, Liberia, on December 11-16, 2003. Representatives from Article 19, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), International Federation of Journalists(IFJ), Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE /IFEX), UNESCO, Panos Institute for West Africa(PIWA), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), International Media Support (IMS), took part in this mission.

Over the last 14 years Liberia went through a civil war that has affected the country in all aspects including the media. Though the Accra Agreement of July 2003 a peace process has been achieved after a long talk supported by ECOWAS, the African Union and the UN. In the wake of the peace process it appears that the media in its present state need to be empowered an strengthen in order to support and lead the peace process smoothly to a success and to assure a free fair and peaceful in 2005 and beyond.

Since May 2003 a number of meetings were held in Denmark and Ghana, to analyse the media and conflict in West Africa, with a specific focus on Liberia and Ivory Coast. The meetings were hosted by Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and International Media Support (IMS), in collaboration of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Participants at the meeting included: Article 19, Association of Journalists for Peace in Cote d’Ivoire, International Federation of Journalists, International Media Support, Media Action International, Media Foundation for West Africa, Media Rights Agenda (Nigeria), PANOS – West Africa, Press Union of Liberia, Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Union des Journalistes de Cote d’Ivoire, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

The partnership will build upon existing forms of collaboration and avoid unnecessary duplication. In this regards agencies and organisations involved in this national, regional and international partnership will coordinate their actions around a common goal.

On this basis, the needs assessment mission was carried out in Liberia in December 11-16, 2003. The delegation met with many journalists, media and civic organisations, government officials, and visited media houses notably:

-The press union of Liberia,

-The ministry of information,

-European Commission,

-Mercy Corps,

-US department-David Foley,

-The Liberia Broadcasting System,

-The Newspapers Publishers Association,

-The National bar association of Liberia

-The female Lawyers association of Liberia,

-The female Journalists association of Liberia,

-The chairman of the Transitional national Liberian Government (TNLG)

-The Liberia Institute of Journalism,

-Department of Mass communication,

-UNDP Officials and Human Rights Coordinator,

-UNMIL officials and Human rights coordinator,

-Centre for Democratic Empowerment(CEDE),

-National Human Rights Centre,

-Radios: Radio Veritas, Stone FM(community radio at Harbel), Talking drums, UNMIL- Radio, Rock FM, Radio DC,

-Newspapers: National Chronicle, National Forum, The news, the Inquirer, the Analyst, Heritage, The Telegraph, The Independent,

-General Forum at PUL headquarters,

-PUL Printing house.

Further information: Bertrand Ginet