Journalists urged to be abreast with ECOWAS protocols
Accra, April 2, GNA - Brigadier (Rtd) Francis Agyemfra, a Security Consultant, has urged journalists in the West African Sub- Region to be abreast with protocols of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to enable them to play their watchdog role more effectively.
Speaking to a team of journalists from West Africa on the topic “Africa Security Policy”, he said the media had become a tool for change and development and journalists must therefore be knowledgeable on issues concerning Africa for effective advocacy from the media for Africa's transformation.
He said the media had a critical role to play in the integration of the West African states which required that functions and objectives of the ECOWAS would engage the attention of journalists in the media to facilitate their role.
Brigadier Agyemfra noted that Africa had been plagued with a lot of violent conflicts, which had negated its development, and which had unleashed poverty and suffering on its people.
He urged journalists to take up the challenge to perform their roles in conflict resolution and change the image of the West African- Sub Region by approaching their work with enhanced professionalism.
Brigadier Agyemfra said ECOWAS on its own had been the pillar of strength in peacekeeping operations during the Sierra Leonean civil war and that had guided the formation of protocols including the standby security force.
The two-week training workshop on Conflict Sensitive and peace Transformation Reporting, was organized by the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ).
Mr Kwasi Gyan Appenteng, a media consultant, in a presentation on “Perspective and Needs of the West African Media landscape” said lack of professional training was a problem in the media landscape.
He said that situation was hindering the critical role of the media in transforming conflicts into peace in West Africa.
He stated that the media in West Africa needed a large scale and comprehensive media training to address capacity deficits in key areas in the media landscape citing the local radio stations that had sprung up in all countries across the sub- region.
Mr Appenteng pointed out that 20 years after the Windhoek Declaration that formed the Press Freedom Day worldwide, the state of the media was not reflecting an institution that was fully fledged to perform its roles without fear or favour.
Ms Ajoa Yeboah Afari, President of the Editors Forum- Ghana, who made a presentation on Gender issues in the media Front, said gender discrimination was symbolic of the ills in the society, which could lead to conflicts.
She therefore urged female journalists not to accept soft spots in the job using their domestic roles as excuses to prove that gender equity was possible and that women despite their biological formation were capable of handling all endeavors.