Liberia : Partnership for Media and Conflict Prevention in West Africa
The Partnership for Media and Conflict Prevention in West Africa was created in 2003 to facilitate collaborative approaches for supporting local media sectors and their roles in preventing or mitigating conflict and its effects in West Africa. Each partner – IREX Europe joined in 2004 — contributes its own funding toward activities, promoting a collaborative approach by implementers and other actors involved in media development in West Africa. The principal contributors in financial terms to partnership activities are UNESCO and International Media Support (Denmark).
Liberia, one of the poorest countries in the world, is struggling to overcome a lengthy and vicious civil war that only ended in the summer of 2003. National elections were scheduled for October 2005, and the media was poorly equipped to cope with such a challenge. The legal infrastructure in particular was weak, and in places entirely absent.
IREX Europe, with IREX private funds, participated in two missions to Liberia. The first mission in September 2004 involved providing expertise in establishing media support non-governmental organizations to the Liberian Press Centre (LPC). The consultancy involved guidance in creating the LPC’s founding statutes and its organizational and management structure.
The second mission in October 2004 provided follow up training to the LPC, and participation in the National Conference on Media Law and Policy Reform in Liberia (21/10/04-23/10/04). The conference was organized by the Partnership, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, UNESCO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-Liberia), and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL). The main aim of the conference was to review all laws and policies with implications for media practice in Liberia, and to develop a comprehensive program of action for the reform of the legal and institutional frameworks for the media.
IREX Europe continues to participate in coordination and fund-raising activities for the partnership and is actively soliciting funding to conduct a media survey and other initiatives in Liberia as part of the partnership’s coordinated activities in the country.