A series of Media & Election workshops for journalists has kicked off last Saturday (April 8) at the Mendana Hotel.
UNDP Head Azusa Kubota, the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) President Leni Dalavera and a representative from the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission opened the training.
The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC), MASI and UNDP through the Strengthening the Solomon Islands Electoral Cycle Project (SECSIP) have forged an agreement to jointly implement the training program to help prepare media personnel for the upcoming National General Election.
The agreement also marks a partnership that ensures open collaboration between the parties involved to ensure a free and fair flow of information on election related activities.
By strengthening the relationship between the media and SIEC, coverage of elections and of political processes is expected to be enhanced.
The media has been identified as one of the key players in terms of awareness therefore training is vital to keep journalists abreast with electoral processes and laws.
The sets of trainings are therefore important in ensuring journalists and the media are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to perform their role freely and fairly without fear and influence.
Prior to the 2014 National General Election, the Electoral Commission forged a partnership with the media and it was very cordial and resulted in an open and successful coverage of the election activities.
This year, the Media Association of Solomon Islands, SIEC and UNDP through SECSIP have renewed that agreement again to continue with the media training partnership.
The topic that opened the trainings last Saturday was on ‘Media and Democracy’.
There was very high turn-out of up to 35 journalists who also had the opportunity to look at and discuss the revised MASI Code of Ethics.
Other training topics to cover on subsequent workshops include Reporting on Voter registration, Candidate and Campaigning, Election Day Coverage, Political Parties Integrity Act, Political Parties in the Solomon Islands, Parliament and the Electoral Reform.
These topics once covered will equip and prepare journalists with the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure citizens get the information they need to make informed decisions in the election process.
The training program is being supported by UNDP through the Strengthening the Electoral Cycle in the Solomon Islands Project (SECSIP) which is funded by the Australia and the EU.