15.12.2016 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Dialogue and roundtable discussions held among key media stakeholders in order to promote the Consolidation of Peace in Madagascar

Participants to the dialogue session among security forces and journalists

On 14 and 15 December 2016, UNESCO organized two events within the framework of the project 'Democratic, Credible, and Representative Institutions in Madagascar' (IDIRC). A dialogue session between the security forces and journalists was organized on 14 December 2016 and a roundtable discussion was held with editors and media owners in Antananarivo Madagascar on 15 December 2016. These two dates marked the beginning of the implementation of the IDIRC project in Madagascar.

The dialogue session among journalists and law enforcement agencies was the first opportunity to discuss safety of journalists among the concerned parties. The meeting was opened by the UN Resident Coordinator for Madagascar Ms Violet Kakyomya, in the presence of three ministers: Mr Béni Xavier Rasolofonirina, Minister of National Defense, Mr Herilanto Raveloharison, Minister of Economy and Planning and Mr Didier Gérard Paza, Secretary of State in charge of National Gendarmerie.

During the meeting several priorities were identified in order to restore mutual trust between the journalists and security forces. These priorities include the need to organize periodic meetings and trainings for journalists and law enforcement agents with a view to a better mutual understanding of the scope and limits of their respective roles. The designation of a clear and reliable contact point for the media within the security forces was also highlighted as an important priority to guarantee better access to information. Journalists, the national police, gendarmerie and the army shared the view that it would be important to set up a protocol for the security of journalists within the framework of the IDIRC project. Such a mechanism will set the framework for a safety guide and commitment to freedom of expression. The discussions and priorities identified among journalists the national police, the gendarmerie and the army demonstrate the willingness of all parties to dialogue and advance together.

The roundtable with editors and the media owners deliberated on investigative journalism. Several obstacles in producing investigative journalism were discussed including the issue of safety of journalists during investigations and the importance of an independent media to carry out credible journalism that goes beyond sensationalism. The importance of media and information literacy among the public was also highlighted. Participants were keen to have a dialogue session among editors-in-chief and the police force to discuss further possible steps to increase the safety of journalists in the country.

The IDIRC project was launched in November 2016 and its funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and aims to strengthen public confidence in public institutions by supporting institutions of accountability and the fight against corruption. The project also aims to create spaces for dialogue between citizens and elected officials, as well as access to information. The project is jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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