Ivorian Journalists Confer In Accra
Ivorian journalists meeting on Friday in Accra to stimulate discussion on the need for media pluralism to resolve the post-electoral conflict in their country Cote d’Ivoire stirred up more controversy, further showing the deep divide in the country’s media. The two-day meeting called by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), a regional media rights body and the International Media Support (IMS), a Danish-based NGO, is aimed at providing a platform for the Ivorian media practitioners to dialogue to seek solutions to the post-election stalemate. Cote d’Ivoire’s civil society has condemned the monopoly of the public media for propaganda by loyalists of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, calling for an end to the dissemination of hate messages through the public media. The journalists at a point in the meeting traded words, some of which bordered on threats, forcing the organisers to plead with them to exhibit maturity to arrive at a consensus that would bring peace. Some of the journalists severely criticised the unbalanced and partial treatment of information in the public media, condemning the clampdown on some newspapers and journalists affiliated to Alassane Ouattara by security agents. “The media should reflect the professionalism in this profession,” said one journalist. “We should be careful not to incite…if we get trapped in this, posterity will judge us.” “Let us not belabour the point that there is the need for the foreign media in Cote d’Ivoire to balance issues because of the hostile media environment in our country,” said another journalist. “The state control of the public media should cease. There should be more public control of the media to give the state-media the kind of protection it needs,” he said. Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of the MFWA, expressed the hope that after the meeting the media practitioners would have seen the need for them to use their profession to prevent conflict in that country.