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West African journalists discuss launch of peace, security network

Feb 27, 2013, 8:59 AM

A workshop aimed at preparations for launching the Network of Journalists for Peace and Security (Netpeace) in West Africa, opened on Monday at the United Nations Information Centre in Dakar, the Senegalese capital.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the media relations officer of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Laurence Gerard, recalled the various conferences held to discuss the role of the media in peace-building and the prevention of conflicts.

She reiterated the importance of the media in the prevention of conflict and the sustenance of peace in the sub-region.

In her contribution, the representative of the African Union, Yaye Nabo Sene, said the main objectives of the network include helping to instill the culture of peace in the sub-region.

She said there is the need for the different networks to coordinate with the various national chapters for information-sharing to promote the consolidation of peace in Africa.

The communications director of the Ecowas secretariat in Abuja, Paul Ejime, said the regional grouping welcomed the initiative.

While underscoring the media’s role in the promotion of peace, he warned that the media also has the tendency to fuel conflict, giving what happened in Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire as examples.

The two-day workshop, jointly organized by UNOWA, the AU, Ecowas and the International Orgnization of the Francophonie (OIF), brings together journalists from Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Mali, Togo, The Gambia, Liberia and Senegal.

Participants discussed several thematic issues pertaining to the launch of the network, including its role, structure and strategy.