ECOWAS Commission Parleys Media Managers and Civil Society to Deepen Participatory Democracy in the Republic of Benin24 Mar, 2021
Abuja, Nigeria, March 18, 2021. As part of the efforts to promote participatory governance process in the Republic of Benin, the ECOWAS Commission engaged media managers as well as leaders of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) via videoconferencing on the 17th of March 2021. Besides the enhancement of participatory democracy, the meeting aimed, among others, to strengthen the processes leading to the provision of the necessary conducive atmosphere for the holding of peaceful democratic elections in Benin.
Apart from raising the awareness of the Media in Benin on the ECOWAS Norms and Standards for the Promotion of Peace and Security in West Africa, the meeting was meant to help fashion out a way of enhancing the capacity of the media to be professional and mindful of the ethics of the profession in the discharge of roles especially during the electioneering period while discouraging media establishments from being used to promote hate speech within and outside electoral circle.
While exhorting the media professionals on best practices for upholding good ethical values for covering the upcoming Benin election, the ECOWAS Resident Representative in the Republic of Benin, Ambassador Blaise Diplo, stressed the importance of maintaining positive media reportage and developing program with rich content for promoting peaceful elections during the electioneering period.
Referring to the imminence of the first round of the country’s Presidential election (April 11th 2021), he emphasised the importance of the media living up to the expectations of the people: “As a reminder, he noted that the media should not be a vigilante for dissemination of false or inflammatory news”.
He challenged them to dispel the commonly held notion in the country that journalists are trigger for violence and fermenter of trouble.
The ECOWAS Resident Representative also commended the efforts of the Media regulatory body in Benin Republic-ODEM and HAC for its monitoring work through the setting up a watchdog committee and promotion of positive values even in the face of limited resources.
He expressed confidence that the meeting will achieve its objective of enhancing the attitude, skills and knowledge of the Media in Benin, by learning from the experience of Media professionals from other ECOWAS Member States, notably the expert from Burkina
Regarding the CSOs and NGOs, involved in the Benin electoral processes, the meeting sought to enhance their capacity on strategic areas of concern, around responsible civic engagement in participatory democracy. This involve the show-casing of initiatives and best practices by other NGOs from across ECOWAS Member States.
The CSOs and NGOs involved, notably WANEP-Benin and Social Watch-Benin, that led other civil groups involve in the Benin electoral processes, expressed their appreciations to ECOWAS and Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA) led facilitation meeting, for creating the opportunity for them to jointly meet with their media counterpart to adopt strategies for strengthening each other’s commitment to adhering to responsible civic participation and positioning of themselves to take proactive initiatives that will support Benin participatory democratic values and enhance peaceful elections in the country.