Sunday, February 27, 2011

Liberian Journalists equipped with skill for effective Electoral Coverage

A six day workshop under the theme "Enhancing the Role of the media for Effective Electoral Coverage" took place in Monrovia, Liberia from 21st to 26th February. The workshop is under the 5year The Civil Society and Media Leadership Programme of IREX in partnership with USAID, Liberia Media Centre, International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES) and African Elections Project

The workshop is part of the process to prepare Journalists in Liberia to cover upcoming October 2011 general elections

Participants are being taken through topics such as, voter Registration, Exhibition and the Final Process, The National Referendum; Facts You Ought to Know, Drawing of Electoral Districts, Prospects and Challenges to the 2011 General and Presidential , PUL'S Code of Conduct (Elections) & Code of Ethics, Liberia's electoral history, Understanding Liberia's Election Laws & the Process, Conflict Sensitive Reporting & Information Management and ICTs and Elections Coverage which is being facilitated by African Elections Project, Liberia bringing project experience from 10 countries in this area.

The workshop was attended by 24 participants drawn from radio and print Liberia journalists.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Electoral body deploys software to detect multiple registration

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has begun the installation of software that will help the commission detect multiple registration in the just concluded voter registration exercise across the country.

INEC Public Relations Officer (PRO) in Ekiti State, Taiwo Gbadegesin, told reporters that the Commission have also started the display of the register in all the 2,195 polling units across the state. Part of the fears expressed by political parties over the last voter registration exercise was the likelihood of multiple registration that could facilitate fraud in April elections.

Mr Gbadegesin, who spoke on behalf of the Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Isyaku Maigoro, said the verification of multiple registration in the exercise will commence immediately the Commission ends the display of the register on February 18. "The verification exercise will be done centrally at the Commission's headquarters in Ado Ekiti and not at the polling units as it is being done in the ongoing display of names," he said.

He said the national leadership of the electoral body is committed to the conduct of a free, fair, credible and internationally acceptable election in April and that the issue of multiple registration that could create room for rigging cannot be treated with levity.

Authenticate the register

The INEC spokesman said the verification exercise will be thoroughly done to ascertain the authenticity of the registration of over 700,000 people as prospective voters in the exercise . "This is not an issue that can be treated with levity. Our office had received the ICT software that will enable us to perform a verification exercise by processing all the names of those that registered to ascertain whether they comply with the rule that stipulated that you can only register once," he said. "We are to commence the process as soon as we are through with the ongoing display of voter register exercise." He said the display of voter register will afford INEC the opportunity to entertain complaints and objections from the public before proceeding to the next level of the exercise.

Mr Gbadegesin called on the members of the public to join hands with the electoral body in its promise to conduct a credible election for the nation in 2011 by discharging all their obligations timely in any of the Commission's exercise.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Uganda : Electoral body issues rules for media during elections

The Electoral Commission has released a set of rules for the media ahead of the February 18 polls and strongly urged journalists to abide by them.

The code of conduct, developed by the electoral body together with the Media Council and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Uganda, was issued to journalists on Wednesday, eight days to the polling day.

Speaking during the launch of the code, EC Chairman Badru Kiggundu said the media should be aware of its power and how it uses it during the election period.

He said, "You should always be aware of the power of the written/broadcast word. This code will seek to remind you to ensure that this immense power that you wield is used constructively and that the media makes rather than breaks the electoral processes."

The rules, compiled into a pocketsize booklet, emphasise the role of the media in ensuring free, fair and democratic elections.

The code of conduct seeks to address various issues such truth, fairness and credibility, and warns the media against publishing information that could cause public disorder or pose a threat to national security.

Other areas covered are independence of media from any players in the electoral process, partiality, inaccuracies, information manipulation, bribery, conflict of interest, sectarianism and equity.

Ms Birgit Gerstenberg, the UNOCHR representative said the code of conduct is based on the premise of freedom of expression and fundamental freedoms already guaranteed by the Constitution and various human rights instruments.

She noted, however, that the same guaranteed freedoms had limits that the media need to observe. "The allowed limits are the respect of the right or reputation of others, or to protect national security, public order, the morals and the public health in society," she said. "The media code for elections reminds media professional on their duty to respect the limits in an especially important period of society and state, which are the elections."

Mr Kiggundu warned media houses against going against the rules as they "yearn to outcompete each other" during the coverage of elections especially on announcement of results.

"If you become errant, you cannot survive," he said, adding that penalties will be drawn from the various laws of Uganda from which the code of conduct was extracted. The laws include the Constitution, the Electronic Media Act, the Presidential Elections Act, and, the Press and Journalist Act.

Kiggundu cautioned the media on coverage of results and candidates with alternative tally centres, saying only the electoral body has the right to announce the final results. The media, he said, could transmit results from a particular polling station but he clarified that they could not "declare the final result".

Opposition candidate Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and the Interparty Cooperation (IPC) has declared his campaign team would announce its own results as part of their strategy to forestall rigging.

"It is only the Electoral Commission that can publish and declare results," Kiggundu said. "What we don't want is an Ivory Coast situation. I have done my part; I will leave the rest to the law."

He said accredited journalists will have full access to the tallying centre where results from around the country will be broadcast using the newly acquired Electronic Results Transmission and Dissemination System. The results will be declared within 48 hours.

The Executive Director of the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME), Peter Mwesige, welcomed the code of conduct.

"Although it has it has come a little late in the game, it still is a valuable addition to other efforts to encourage free expression accompanied by responsibility as the country goes to the polls," he said.

ACME released guidelines for media coverage of elections in November following a participatory process that involved key players, including the Electoral Commission, media houses, media regulators, political parties, and civil society.

Those guidelines were meant to encourage the media to regulate themselves in accordance with international best practice in the coverage of elections.

Dr. Mwesige said while calls for media responsibility in the coverage of the elections were welcome, he was uncomfortable with threats of criminal sanctions against so-called errant journalists.

"The danger with pointing at laws, which are draconian, is that you risk smothering expression of opinion and dissemination of information that is critical for the public to make an informed decision come February 18," he said.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nigeria :CFC Calls on the Media to Work towards Successful Elections

 (Lagos, Feb 9, 2010) Communicating For Change (CFC), Nigeria's leading development communications organization urged the broadcast media to help pave the way to successful elections at a forum for television and radio stations focusing on  "the Role of the Media In Successful Elections" held in Lagos on Tuesday,February 8th 2011, at Terra Kulture.
 The forum was attended by Chief Executive Officers and program heads of radio and television stations and the print media and a lively panel discussion highlighted the responsibility of the media in entrenching democracy through proper and credible elections. The discussion was moderated by John Momoh, Chairman of Channels TV and panelists were Professor Ralph Akifeleye (Head of the University of Lagos Department of Mass Communications), Dr Ngozi Iwere (Executive Director, Community Life Project), and Mr. Olufemi Ayeni (Zonal Director, National Broadcasting Commission).
As Nigeria prepares for the 2011 country-wide polls, participants discussed the challenges facing the media in election reporting as well as the importance of emphasizing that voters have sufficient information to choose good leaders.
Communicating for Change, who hosted the event, presented a series of new films and radio programs, based on the opinions, fears and hopes of people interviewed across the nation. The short dramas highlight the need for voters to overcome their fear of election violence, and apathy and mistrust that elections will probably be rigged, and actively choose the right leaders to bring about change in Nigeria.
 "These films address people's misgivings and through drama, encourage people to exercise their right to vote in order to ensure development across Nigeria," said Sandra Mbanefo Obiago, CFC's Founder. "A non partisan media which provides a platform for discussion of issues of public concern in a fair and honest way, and which provides airtime for messages that educate the public to make the right decision is in the best interest of the media."
She challenged journalists to rise up and create strong platforms for socially relevant messages to guide Nigerians in the right direction and empower them to choose democracy and good governance over bribery, corruption, and dirty politics ahead of the 2011 nationwide elections.
In his presentation titled "Perspectives on the Role of the Media in Successful Elections", Professor Ralph Akinfeleye noted that the mass media is the engine oil that lubricates the heart of a sustainable democracy, saying media professionals must see themselves as trustees of the public trust and acceptance of anything short of this is a betrayal of trusteeship.
He explained that the role of the media has gone beyond that of being a watchdog , setting the agenda, or checking and balancing on government to becoming the common carrier of ideas of election processes.
According to Akinfeleye, the media must monitor the government and politicians during elections, inform the people about election and political manifestoes and interpret electoral laws for better understanding of the voting public; journalists must adhere strictly to the professional ethical code of practice before, during and after elections.
Channels Chairman Mr. Mommoh who moderated the session, assured forum participants that broadcasters would provide the public with qualitative election debates in a bid to help people scrutinize political office aspirants ahead of the country-wide polls in April. He also called for an urgent passage of the Feedom of Information Bill, to enable the press perform its functions optimally.
CFC's films and radio programmes are part of a broader media campaign to increase awareness of and demand for effective government, an efficient electoral system, and improved public participation in the Nigerian socio-political process with the ultimate goal of contributing to the growth of democracy, good governance and economic and social development in Nigeria. The films and radio programs are being made available to ardio and television stations across the country at similar broadcasters forums being planned in Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt.
The dramas were produced after extensive audience research and in partnership with civil society (the Community Life Project, Development Communications Network, Media Rights Agenda, and the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism) who provided guidance on content; the project was funded by the Ford Foundation.
About Communicating for Change
Communicating for Change (CFC), one of Nigeria's leading development communications organisations, produces film, radio, television, print, and web based media to tell development stories from an African point of view, ensuring that audiences across the continent are empowered to make informed choices.
About Partners
Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ)
Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) is a registered not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation with social justice programs aimed at exposing corruption, regulatory failures and human rights abuses with the tool of investigative journalism.
Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS)
Development Communications (DEVCOMS) Network is a media-development, capacity-building non-governmental organization coordinated by experienced development journalists.
Media Rights Agenda (MRA)
Media Rights Agenda (MRA) is a non-governmental organisation working for the promotion and protection of press freedom and freedom of expression in Nigeria. It has Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.
Community Life Project (CLP)
Community Life Project (CLP) is one of Nigeria's leading Non-Governmental Organisations promoting participatory grassroots development and community empowerment.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Elections législatives et présidentielles 1er tour

Les Leçons D'un Double Scrutin


Les résultats globaux provisoires du double scrutin du 31 janvier dernier au Niger ont été rendus publics ce vendredi par la Commission électorale nationale indépendante (CENI). Sur toute la ligne le Parti Nigérien pour la Démocratie et le Socialisme (PNDS-Tarraya) de Mahamadou Issoufou arrive en tête, suivi du Mouvement national pour la Société de Développement (MNSD-Nassara, renversé par la junte militaire) de Séini Omar. Et enfin le Moden FA Lumana de Hama AMADOU, l'aile dissidente du MNSD.


Selon le président de la CENI M.Ghousmane ABDOURAHAMANE le scrutin présidentiel 1er tour a enregistré un taux der participation de 52,83%. Le Pnds-tarraya et le MNSD-Nassara sont qualifiés pour le second tour avec respectivement : 36,06 %  et 23, 24 %. Le Moden Fa Lumana, la révélation de ces consultations se retrouve dans la prestigieuse position de faiseur de roi avec 19,82% détrônant de fait, la CDS-rahama de Mahamane OUSMANE qui vient d'essuyer un cinglant désaveu et une perte de vitesse sans précédent. 8,42% à la présidentielle et deux(02) députés pour les législatives. Or, pour les mêmes législatives, le PNDS totalise 39 sièges, MNSD 26 sièges et le Moden Fa Lumana 24 sièges pour un Parlement de 113 députés. Dans le même temps, des partis comme l'ANDP Zaman Lahiya, et l'Udr Tabbat pourraient se frotter les mains contrairement à la seule femme, candidate indépendante à l'élection présidentielle Mme BAYARD Mariama Gamatié qui n'a eu que 0,3%. A l'analyse, on pourrait dire qu'elle n'a pas pu au moins bénéficier des suffrages de ces concitoyennes et que la gente féminine a encore du chemin dans la gestion du pouvoir d'Etat, alors qu'elle représente plus de la moitié de la population. Mais au stade actuel et dans la perspective du second tour qui interviendra le 12 mars prochain, nombreux sont les observateurs qui entrevoient une possible recomposition du paysage politique, comme c'était le cas et peut-être à la surprise générale, le 25 janvier dernier quand six(6) présidentiables ont cru devoir se retrouver dans une alliance dénommée ARN (Alliance pour la Réconciliation Nationale) où des frères ennemis semblent avoir accordé leurs violons. Le MNSD et le Moden FA Lumana qui ont ainsi fumé le calumet de la paix le 25 janvier sont respectivement 2è et 3è. Et leur pacte précise qu'il faut s'aligner derrière celui d'entre eux qui ira au second tour. Or, le parti de Mamadou Tandja ayant fait les frais du coup d'état militaire du 18 février 2010, selon des observateurs risquerait de se voir lâcher par le Moden au profit de l'opposant historique Mahamadou Issoufou dont le parti aujourd'hui jouit d'une représentativité d'envergure nationale et qui a combattu avec certains notamment Hama Amadou, le président Mamadou Tandja dans son élan de refondation de la République. Pour l'heure en tout cas, les spéculations vont bon train à Niamey. Chacun des deux candidats multiplie les contacts et tractations pour avoir le parti de Hama Amadou comme allié sûr avec lui. Rien de formel pour le moment ! Mais en attendant, la CENI et les observateurs nationaux et internationaux se félicitent du bon déroulement de ces élections.





Friday, February 4, 2011

NIGER : L'affiche du second tour est connue !

Les partis entre angoisse et espoir…

Le Président de la Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI), Abdourahamane Gousmane, a proclamé, hier jeudi 03 Février à 20H45, plus de 80 % des résultats de l'élection présidentielle du 1er tour du 31 janvier dernier. Dans une annonce sur les Télé Sahel la télévision d'Etat, le président de la CENI a annoncé l'affiche du second tour  du 12 Mars 2011comme suit :   Mahamadou  Issoufou, candidat du PNDS- face à Seïni Oumarou candidat du MNSD-Nassara.

Un match qui s'annonce serré.

Au niveau du bureau politique du PNDS selon Zarami Abba conseiller en communication du part, , le moral est haut. Les résultats confirment le travail abattu par le parti rose sur le terrain.

Du côté du MNSD-Nassara aussi, l'espérance est de mise avec le soutien des alliés.Les militants s'interrogent sur la perspective du second tour avec anxiété.

A l'allure où vont les choses, des tractations sont en cours pour une modification des alliances déjà existantes.