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NEW Develops Media monitoring strategy for 2018 Election

NEW Develops Media monitoring strategy for 2018 Election

Spokesperson of the National Elections Watch (NEW), Ngolo Katta said they have developed a Media Monitoring Policy for Sierra Leoneans to continue benefitting from violent free elections with high level of political tolerance.   (Photo: NEW Chairperson, Marcella Samba Sesay and Spokesperson, Ngolo Katta)

Ngolo Katta was updating Journalists last Thursday at the weekly Government press briefing in the conference room of the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC), Youyi Building, Brookfields in Freetown.

The Spokesman expressed sincere gratitude to all media institutions in Sierra Leone for reporting accurately during past elections and updates  people with correct and positive information that has no bias messages noting that they are in the process of developing a Media Monitoring Strategy that will enable them to monitor the Media Landscape by paying serious concentration to hate Speeches during political Campaigns, bias reporting and even the allocation of airtime to political parties and candidates especially by the state broadcaster, Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation(SLBC).

Mr. Katta went further to update Journalists that, NEW is a Citizens observation coalition of more than three hundred and seventy five (375) Civil Society Organizations that are engage in observing General Elections as Long term and Short term observers across the country adding  that they have now graduated from observing just on polling day with limited reporting compare to now that NEW has collaborate robustly with National Electoral Commission (NEC), Sierra Leone Police (SLP), international Observation mission, Political Party Registration Commission (PPRC) among others for a peaceful atmosphere to prevail in observing the entire activities within the electoral cycle  and also for having an observer in every polling station for 2018 General Elections, NEW Ambassador stated.

He emphasized how NEW has also moved from being reactive to being proactive at all times by engaging various community stakeholders from the preliminary stage at the strategic level thereby contributing to solutions and problems emitting from unusual electoral tricks and mentioned that because of their electoral commitment, NEW is now a member of the Elections Basket Fund Steering Committee. He assured the general public that NEW will continue to teamup with concerned authorities like the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), the Integrated Elections Security Planning Committee (IESPC), Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC) and the Strengthening of the National Electoral Commission Project (SNEC) adding that they also relates and coordinates with international Observation Missions in preparation to deploy observers for March 2018.

He disclosed that NEW together with other six civil society outfits have formed the standing Together for Democracy Consortium engage in various thematic areas in the electoral process adding that they have also developed a five year strategic plan that focuses on the entire cycle of activities which includes(1), Special Challenges and difficulties associated with polling day and its stages(2), Elections insecurity and Political Violence(3), on Adherence to political and Electoral Laws and processes(4), inadequate citizens knowledge on political & electoral laws with key processes and finally(5) the Inadequate Institutional and Management Capacity which he said is to ensure that they meaningfully contribute to peaceful and credible 2018 elections process.

In her backing up statement during the briefing, the Chairperson for NEW, Madam Marcella Samba-Sesay speaks on the need to incorporate more women and disable persons in to the electoral process because according to her, they are dignified people in society who are also contributing Significantly to National Economic Growth and mentioned that this is the first time Sierra Leone is going to have a hi-tech Social media elections.

Madam Sesay emphasized the significant role women are playing throughout the elections period, from campaigns phase to voting stage, to an extent that they even tend to sacrifice all their busy schedules with the hope that, proper structures will be put in place to address women and children issues which he said is still affecting the country in diverse ways noting that women’s empowerment is very much key into the whole process.

The Chairperson concluded that they wish to state it categorically clear that all this intervention which they are performing now in the electoral process have been made possible through the funding support by the European Union Delegation in Sierra Leone, UK Aid, OSIWA and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

She expressed her deepest gratitude to all concerned authorities, especially media houses, civil society groups, community stakeholders, markets women, youth groups and international partners for their fruitful compliance towards the operations of NEW.

By Alhassan Bangura

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