Within the framework of the project “Support to the Peaceful Electoral Process to Promote Social Cohesion in Cameroon” funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), UNESCO Regional Office for Central Africa, carried out a three days training for the benefit of 35 Journalists from all ten regions in Cameron. The training aimed at building the capacities of community radios’ men and women, on collection techniques, research, treatment and dissemination of information during the post electoral period with respect for human rights, and the promotion of peace and democracy.
In a time where tensions from political crisis continue to be a major challenge in Cameroon, information handling has become one of the most powerful tools for influencing peace in communities, and media professionals have taken the role of primary ambassadors of peace. The training was strategically programmed within the timeframe of the post electoral period of the municipal and legislative elections, and prior to the announcement of the elections results. Specialists from the National Communication Council (CNC), Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), and The Advanced School of Mass Communication (ASMAC) as well as from UNESCO animated the three days sessions. In a very participative approach, the 35 participants coming from the 10 regions of were enlightened on the rules and regulations in handling electoral information; the impact of community radios’ involvement in elections; evading common pitfalls related to media’s exploitation of electoral information that is hate speech, identifying fake news; and on peacebuilding and peace journalism.
“We have had situations where people, even family members stop speaking to each other for up to five years because of elections,” said Ngwafor Grace, journalist of Abakwa FM Radio, Northwest Region.
“The knowledge we have gathered these three days will help us as journalists of community radios to produce programs that will go a long way to change the mindset of the population to team up for the betterment of their communities despite belonging to different parties.” Grace added.
Such trainings are known to have a highly positive impact on minimizing the risk of post electoral conflict, promoting social cohesion and reinforcing commitment to community development by the positive impact of proper radio communication.