The Director of Communications at the National Elections Commission (NEC), says the role of the media is very critical to the conduct of the 2015 National Referendum to adopt a new constitution for Liberia.
Mr. Joey Kennedy noted that the media is expected to educate citizens through stories that adequately explain the national situation regarding the merits and demerits of the current constitution of the country and why a national referendum is important to amend it.
He said the media can explain in simple terms the specific parts or provisions of the constitution that would be out for amendment and adequately encourage eligible persons to register as voters and cast their ballot during the referendum.
He said the media can also expose the proliferation of defamation and hate speeches that may influence nationals negatively.
“Given the tensions that marred the conduct of elections, whether Presidential, Legislative, municipal or referenda, It is essential, therefore, that the media play an active role in ensuring that such tensions and conflicts are minimized or eliminated. The media can do this by sensitizing the electorate and the rest of the citizenry on the proper conduct of elections. These roles are also expected of the media during the conduct of a future National Referendum or Special Election for the purpose of adopting an amendment to the constitution of Liberia in concert with Article 91 of the constitution and Chapter 1 section 1.2(f) of the New Elections Law approved on September 29, 1986 and amended on January 29, 2003 and December 23, 2004 respectively.” Mr. Kennedy noted.
Mr. Kennedy made the assertions on Friday when he served as one of the panelists at the first in a series of Editor’s forum held by IREX in collaboration with the Liberia Media Center in Monrovia.
The forum was held under the theme:“The Role of the Media in Covering the 2014 Constitutional Referendum and Its Impact on Peace and Reconciliation in Liberia.”