Buchanan: As part of efforts to ensure electoral reform issues are captured with citizens voices, INTERNEWS, a USAID Liberia Media Development Project has concluded four (4) regional training to sharpen journalists skills across the country under the ‘CLEAR’ project.
‘CLEAR’ is known as Citizens in Liberia Engaged Advance Electoral Reform. The program was birthed from the 2017 nationwide debate that brought citizens in contact with their candidates, and key issues surrounding electoral reform with issues being raised from the process, which was a clearing call from citizens through the efforts of partnership with several community radios across the country
Eighty (80) Journalists along with twenty (20) CLEAR Fellows were trained to report on issues emanating from the community on citizens perspective on electoral reform issues. Electoral ranges from Constitutional, Statutory and Regulatory reforms, which are used by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and other stakeholders during and after elections period.
As the close of the 4th regional training in Grand Bassa County, INTERNEWS Senior Community Radio Advisor and CLEAR Project lead, Jefferson Massah pointed out that journalists have lost following up on electoral issues that came out of the just ended elections in Liberia, noting that it is important journalists utilize the CLEAR training to change the headlines and news on electoral reform.
“We believe that after these training, journalists will begin to follow-up on and give electoral reform issues a space in your various news outlet, highlighting citizens’ view”, Massah noted.
Journalists lauded INTERNEWS for the training and promise increased visibility of stories on electoral reform as a means to foster citizens engagement on the rule of law and elections.
The four regions include western including, Bomi, Capemount, Gbarpolu Counties; central Liberia include Bong, Nimba, Lofa, southeast also include journalists from Grand Gedeh, Maryland, Grand Kru, Sinoe, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Rivercess and Montserrado Counties as the 4th region of journalists who participated in the training.
From the training, journalists formed story ideas to pursue, capturing citizens’ voices, Civil Society Organizations, extensive research within the Constitution among others to form part of sources for production after the training with set timelines in order to keep track of their work.