The Press Union of Liberia in collaboration with Center for Media Studies and Peace Building or CEMESP, with support from UNESCO has launched the UNESCO-IPDC PROJECT under the theme: “Strengthening Conflict Sensitivity in Journalism and Social Media towards Supporting Peaceful Elections in Liberia”. Speaking at the formal opening was the Regional Director of UNESCO based in Abuja, Nigeria Mr. Yao Ydo,  said that elections in any country are key to development and growth of that country. He added that elections must not be taken for granted, because they place the country on the right track.

Mr. Yao spoke in Monrovia Tuesday, 13 June, 2017 at the YMCA Auditorium in Monrovia where he addressed score of reporters at the launch of the UNESCO-IPDC project.  The UNESCO regional chief reminded participants that elections remain a very important period in the life of a country, with obvious challenges as to the best approach towards taking stock of, and further consolidating the democratic dividends.

According to him, Liberia like other nations have gone through a long way, and the transitional period ahead with presidential and general elections, requires great attention to avoid any violence. Liberians go to the polls on October 10th to elect a new President and members of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Ydo stressed that the opportunity being provided by his organization to provide training for Liberian journalists is no better opportunity than such a period to perform UNESCO’s mandate; which is to build peace in the minds of men and women.

He said “many a times, the professionals of the media, and journalists in particular, continue to be targets, subjects to threats, and unfortunately, sometimes leading to death, because of their opinion, in the exercise of their duties. This is why UNESCO places a high importance in empowering journalists, to increase awareness on freedom of expression and the free flow of information. Training is at the heart of UNESCO’s work as the only United Nations’ agency entrusted to defend freedom of expression and press freedom.”

 Mr. Ydo: “UNESCO takes key interest in collaborating work in advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication to the end”.  According to him what matters most is to ensure the free flow of communication and information throughout the electoral process.

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