The Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) will cover Liberia’s 2023 general elections in collaboration with the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), Electoral Institute for Sustainable Development in Africa (EISA), Premium Times (PT), DUBAWA, The Stage Media, media and other partners.
Liberians go to the polls on October 10 to elect a president, 15 senators and 73 House of Representatives members. This is the fourth election since the civil war ended in 2003. It will also be the first election (since the previous ones in 2005, 2011 and 2017), which will not be assisted by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and will be conducted independently by the Liberia National Elections Commission (NEC). Twenty candidates, out of whom two are women, are running for the presidency.
CJID’s election coverage forms part of the Centre’s effort to promote democratic accountability in the West African sub-region towards sustainable development. The Centre has previously covered elections in Ghana (in 2020), The Gambia (in 2021), Nigeria (in 2019 and 2023), and Sierra Leone (in 2023) in collaboration with national election management bodies, the media and other partners through its Media in National Election (MiNE) and DUBAWA programmes.
Similar to all its election interventions, CJID, through its DUBAWA project, is focused on debunking election-related misinformation and disinformation, promoting media and information literacy and ensuring access to quality information during the October 10 elections in Liberia. Already, the team has debunked several election-related false information that surfaced in the media space prior to Election Day, carried out media and information literacy campaigns for students in tertiary institutions in the country and trained over 80 journalists who will be covering the elections.
Caroline Anipah, the Deputy Director for DUBAWA, who led the team in election fact-checking and research in Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, noted that while election trends in the West African sub-region may appear similar for Liberia, there may be some unique indices which may make the country’s elections different from others in the sub-region.
“We are bringing our experience and learnings from fact-checking elections in other countries to this one. We are hopeful that the spread of false information will be reduced through our efforts. We are grateful to our partners for agreeing to join hands with us in this critical period,” Anipah said.
The Executive Director of CJID, Dr Tobi Oluwatola, believes partnering with independent election observer bodies has facilitated the Centre’s election coverage, reach, visibility and credibility.
“CJID, Dubawa and Premium Times are very proud of our partnerships with the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and Electoral Institute for Sustainable Development in Africa (EISA). We believe that collaboration between these regional democratic accountability vehicles is crucial to improving the quality and credibility of elections in the region. As misinformation and disinformation tend to climax around elections, our work will ensure that voters get accurate information promptly to dispel falsehood.” Dr. Oluwatola said.
Idris Akinbajo, the Managing Editor of Premium Times, also remarked that “this collaboration helps us achieve our aim of deepening democracy in West Africa by using professional journalistic tools to inform and enlighten the public on the entire electoral process in Liberia as we’ve done in other West African countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.”
CJID wishes the people of Liberia a peaceful election.