Mar 9, 2009, 7:59 AM
The regional president of the West African Network of Journalists for Peacebuilding (WANJOP) has called on youth and media practitioners to promote the global call for ceasefire and non-violence.
Wanjop regional president Nfamara Jawneh, commenting on the International Day of Peace, said Wanjop has issued a message on the Day which is observed worldwide on September 21st each year.
The day was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Since then people around the globe have continued to mark the day.
This year’s theme is "Youth for Peace and Development". In The Gambia, different civil society organizations take part in celebrating the day among them is the West African Network of Journalists for Peacebuilding (WANJOP).
"The day is a global call for ceasefire and non-violence," Mr Jawneh said in his message on the occasion.
He said further that this year's observance focuses on youth and development, thus challenging youth to also do their part towards the advancement of global peace. To this end, he challenged media practitioners, especially young people in the media, to embrace the culture of peace.
"This International Day comes with a challenge for young people everywhere, to work hard to build peace," he said. "I believe the media has the capacity to play a leading role in conceptualizing the ideology of a world free of wars. There is no doubt that peace is the only way to economic, social and cultural progress, and the development of human character."
Mr. Jawneh used the occasion to admonish all and sundry, particularly those in the media, to promote international peace and security and to take effective collective measures for prevention and removal of threats to peace.
He further encouraged all journalists in the sub-region to build interest in "peace journalism" from which he said reporters draw on their insights of conflict assessment and resolution "to better explain the interests of each side and the conflict dynamics".
The Wanjop regional president remarked: "Media being the watchdog of the society should be avowedly alive to the need of sensitizing the members of the society to the cherished human values of service and sacrifice for the betterment of the society."
Peace, he added, is a state of harmony, freedom from war or violence depicted by respect, justice, goodwill and friendship. "Peace enables development, which is critical in providing opportunities for young people, particularly those in countries emerging from conflict. I therefore urge all media practitioners and groups in West Africa and the world at large to use the Day of Peace to engage in activities that contribute to ceasefires, end conflicts, bridge cultural divides and create tolerance."
Journalism can play a role in escalating conflicts, which also demonstrates the potential for positive purposes, he said, adding that the media have the power to defuse tensions before they even reach a critical point and keep a critical eye on government, opposition and society.
Mr Jawneh noted: "By supplying credible information and reaching a large audience, the media help in managing conflicts and promote democratic principles."