Cote d'Ivoire media asked to protect human rights during elections

20:15, November 25, 2010      

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Officials of the United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (ONUCI) on Wednesday asked the country's media practitioners to promote and protect human rights during the upcoming elections.

The head of ONUCI's regional bureau for human rights Patricia Nwoteigho, who was speaking during a training seminar for media practitioners, noted the important role that the latter can play in sensitizing the people about the need to respect the rights of others.

"It's essential to reinforce the professional capacity of journalists on matters of human rights especially during this electoral period," she noted.

"This means that they should be engaged together with other actors in the actions aimed at organizing peaceful and violence free elections," the human rights expert said.

The spokesman for the participants, Marc Dakotta, termed the seminar as very useful since it reminded journalists the need to start broadcasting messages of reconciliation, cohesion and mutual respect.

"This electoral period is a very tensed one and we as journalists have an assignment to contribute to the pacification of the environment and to the preservation of everyone's rights," he said.

The agenda of the seminar centered on two issues : "human rights and elections" and "promotion and protection of human rights in the context of ending a crisis."

Cote d'Ivoire is going through a tense campaign period where confrontations between the supporters of the two candidates have been witnessed.

ONUCI has intensified dialogue, information and training sessions for the media people in order to have a successful presidential run-off.

At another meeting in Abidjan on Tuesday, the special representative of the UN secretary general in Cote d'Ivoire, Choi Young-jin, hailed "the positive attitude" of Cote d'Ivoire's media during the first round of presidential elections.

Choi also appealed to Cote d'Ivoire's media practitioners to remain balanced in their coverage of the presidential run-off.

The campaigns for the second round of vote were kicked off on Nov. 20 and the election which will be contested by outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo and ex-prime minister Alassane Ouattara is expected on Sunday.



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