As members of the Fourth Estate, we in the media have a duty to uphold the sanctity of the state, its peace and unity, security and democratic pluralism thru free, fair credible and participatory elections for economic viability and growth. We’re also committed to availing our various platforms, as we have always done, to citizens across the length and breadth of the country to be heard and to fight for rights of the oppressed, physically challenged and weak.
It is in advancement of these sacred duties, and many others that we, the media in Liberia have resolved to, among others, ensuring that electorates for the 2023 Elections are adequately informed thru robust voter education and dissemination of messages that would enable citizens to understand candidates and political parties’ manifestoes, a need for violence-free campaigns and procedures prior, during and after Elections Day on October 10, 2023.
In going about this, we commit to maintaining a high level of professionalism, objectivity, and impartiality in both our coverage and reportage especially, during and after the electioneering period, by broadcasting and publishing news stories in such a manner that will not undermine the fundamental rights of ordinary citizens or not to involve in propagation of fake news, inflammatory statements and hate media practices.
We also agree to continuously work against becoming channels and conduits for publication or broadcasting of materials that inflame passions, incite violence, promote hate, or threaten the freedom of others to participate peacefully and freely, in the electoral process.
We shall diligently and professionally monitor all aspects of the elections across the country with a view of making sure that all actors involved in these exercises, act in accordance with established laws, regulations and international best practices regarding elections.
Besides, we will serve as mitigators of potential conflict by disseminating peace messages, and putting in place mechanism to counter fake news, misinformation, disinformation and mal-information in Liberia, for as watchdog, how can we abandon our sentry role in society or join those bent on fueling hate and violence in our democratic space just to revert our dear country to flames and carnage only because they want to win election? We refuse to be a party to anything that will want to jeopardize our democratic sojourn especially, after we, as a nation, have experienced 14 years of bloody civil war during which many of our compatriots died, including women, children and the elderly.
Therefore, from time to time, during the remaining days of campaigns, leading to Election Day, and even after polling day, we commit to writing, publishing and broadcasting common editorials in our respective media outlets on matters that are critical for free, fair and peaceful elections. Whether it is lack of funding for the National Elections Commission to conduct runoff election, or rerun in any part of the country because of dispute or anything else that may serve as a hindrance, we commit to rallying the nation on a common front in finding common remedy without resorting to violence.
This Joint Resolution was derived recently from a two-day (September 18- 19, 2023) Encounter with Media Professionals to Promote Participatory Democracy in Liberia held by ECOWAS Commission in Monrovia thru the Office of the Resident Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission under the auspices of GIZ/EPSAO and facilitated by media colleagues from the region. This we sincerely pledge to upkeep for the peace and stability of our dear Liberia and posterity to come.