East African regional bloc sets up peace and security media network

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The eight-member regional economic community in the East and Horn of Africa region – IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) plans to bring media onside in reporting on peace and security issues in the region.

To this end it launched what it calls “a new media network” under the auspices of the IGAD Peace and Security Division mid-December in Ethiopia’s Bishoftu.

Journalists, media regulators and other media practitioners were present with the aim of boosting transparent, professional and contextual coverage of peace and security issues. Media practitioners were drawn from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda attended.

“IGAD recognises the need for a platform to strategically and sustainably engage with journalists and media practitioners in coverage of peace and security in the region. This network gives us the opportunity to do exactly that, especially now when the region is faced with multiple threats to human security,” Siraj Fegessa, Peace and Security Division director, said.

At the launch, media practitioners established a steering committee to liaise with IGAD on structures for proactive communication on often sensitive topics on peace and security.

“The media plays a significant role in informing and shaping public perceptions as well as driving important conversations around a range of issues with direct relevance to strengthening good governance, sustainable development, peaceful resolution to conflict as well as regional integration. That’s why this network is another step on the journey to promoting human security in our region,” Fegessa is reported as saying.