To promote ethical and professional journalism in Africa, media leaders and influencers on the continent during the weekend challenged the media to take steps to address issues of hate speech in media ahead of key elections in Central and Western Africa.
Hate speech, fake news and abusive exploitation of information technology are endangering pluralism, democracy and the defense of human rights, the Journalists stressed.
The gathering called on African media professionals to support the continental campaign Turning The Page of Hate to expose, isolate and eliminate all forms of incitement to intense hatred and violence and called on journalists unions and other partners to promote practical tools such as the 5-point test for hate-speech for training of journalists in newsrooms and for freelance reporters.
As a result of the meetings the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) have accepted to work with all relevant stakeholders to update ethical codes across the continent so that they adequately deal with the growing threat of hate speech, terrorism and violent extremism.
The propositions are an outcome of a two day regional meeting organized by the Federation of African Journalists and Ethical Journalism Network with delegates from Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo. The event was held in Abuja from 1-2 March hosted by the Nigerian Journalists Union (NUJ).
The President of Press Union of Liberia, Charles B. Coffey, Jr. represented the Liberian Journalism Community at the two-day media symposium in Abuja. He has now returned to the country.
Please follow the below pasted links to see the full resolution and plan adopted by the meeting in Abuja, Nigeria:
The Turning the Page of Hate Campaign
The dangers of hate speech in journalism are well known and can have tragic consequences. In response, the Ethical Journalism Network launched the Turning the Page of Hate campaign in 2014 to mark the 20-year anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Since the EJN has held regional events in Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, and Tanzania to mobilize journalism at all levels against manipulation of media and journalism as weapons of hatred and incitement to violence.
The EJN 5-point test for hate-speech
• As part of the campaign the EJN created a 5-point test for journalists to use to identify hate speech and report on it with an ethical content.
• For more context and details about how to use the five-point test for hate speech, read the EJN’s extended guidelines.
• The EJN’s 5-point test infographic has been translated into over 20 languages and can be downloaded for use in newsrooms and for training.
• Contact the EJN if you would like to join campaign.
Mr. Coffey on his arrival said the meeting of African Media Leaders gels with the Press Union of Liberia’s flagship programs which has modified its self-regulatory regime in the introduction of the National Media Council and the Media Alert Office.
The National Media Council is responsible to arbitrate complaints arising from the discharge of journalistic duties which carries with it the strong sense of reporters’ deportment and journalists’ protection at all times.
Mr. Coffey said the Leadership of Press Union will continue to work toward the betterment of Journalism in Liberia specifically seeking supports for training for beginner and mid-level career journalists, improvement of the legal operating environment of media in Liberia and the operations of the National Media Council and the Media Alert Office.
“In this regard, the Leadership of the Press Union of Liberia has turned over the first quarter report of the Media Alert Office to the National Media Council for adjudications of all outstanding complaints.
See full Media Alert Report on http///www. pul.lr.org.
Daniel Nyakonah, Jr.