Ahead of October 10 polls, the ECOWAS Resident Representative To Liberia, Josephine Nkrumah has called on Liberian journalists to “deliberately tackle the spread of fake news and hate speech to de-escalate socio-political tensions” in the country.
Speaking recently during the starts of a two-day ECOWAS media engagement in Monrovia that focuses on countering misinformation and disinformation during electioneering period, madam Nkrumah said the media have the power to promote critical peace through agenda that informed, engaged and discerning civic discourse.
She noted, “As you may know, misinformation and disinformation pose serious threats to our nascent democracy. They have become instruments that can be used to manipulate public opinion, sow discord, and undermine the electoral process.”
“We have had four coups from post-election conflicts in the sub region and Liberia must stem the tide. The world looks to Liberia to showcase its growing democracy, the ECOWAS Rep. asserted.
According to her, the debilitating impact of misinformation and disinformation on elections can be seen in a number of recent elections around the world, particularly within our region, “where lives were lost, properties destroyed, and the credibility of elections compromised.”
The ECOWAS envoy maintained that going forward, the Liberian media needs help to promote social cohesion, foster understanding, and counter divisive narratives during electioneering periods.
She added that with the election just a few weeks away, it is critical for the media to ensure that the information reaching to the public is accurate and meets ethical standards.
“The ECOWAS Commission sincerely hopes to foster an environment of informed and responsible journalism and reporting, believing that we will all contribute to the empowerment of our citizens and the consolidation of our democratic institutions.
“We hope to promote inclusivity, work towards eliminating fake news, resist giving our platforms to people who devise and promote hate speeches and inciting statements, and ensure that the resonating voices of all Liberians are heard and adequately represented,” Nkrumah added.