NEC is the body under the Liberian Constitution clothed with the authority to conduct elections for all public offices within the territorial confines of Liberia.The ongoing training, which is set to be climaxed today, Thursday, September 9, is being attended by several journalists from the print and electronic media with facilitators drawn from NEC, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL). Speaking at the opening of the training, Mr. Henry B. Flomo, Director of Communications at NEC, underscored the significance of the media in every electioneering process owing to its cardinal role it plays in informing the public.
According to Flomo, the training is captured under Pillar-2 of the NEC (capacity building pillar). “The media is a very important component of the electoral process. The VRU training is cardinal to our timeline, and so we couldn’t have carried out this process without involving you or without building your capacity as you too, have the cardinal responsibility to inform our people,” said the NEC communications director. “Because the VRU process is important, the media needs to understand it and in turn inform others. You are the bridge between us and the electorates,” he stated.
In remarks, the President of the PUL, Mr. Charles B. Coffey, lauded NEC for organizing the training that is intended to make journalists to be on top of the issue, stating that the relationship between the NEC and PUL is irreversible.
“We are gratified that this training will present a clearer picture of the working of NEC. If the media lacks the information it brings about chaos and this is what we don’t want to see happening. I want to thank the commission for recognizing the importance of journalists in these processes,” he indicated.
Coffey then urged the journalists to take advantage of capacity building initiatives so that they can better inform the society. “The election is crucial. I want to use this platform to urge political actors to desist from using invectives. And I equally want to urge you- journalists not to give them your platforms,” he added. Madam Lenka Homolkova of the UNDP vowed continued support to the works of the NEC while at the same time urging journalists to ensure professionalism in the execution of their assigned duties.
“UNDP remains supportive to the process of capacity building. For you; the media, your role is very significant to this process as you inform the voters and organize debates for candidates. All I can say, you must ensure that your information does not undermine the electoral process. Hope this training will be very beneficial for you,” she, among other things, stated.