The media can play a vital a role in establishing social cohesion in post crisis regions. Internews has published a report which concludes that creating links between communities and local radio stations can improve the quality of broadcasting and contribute to building bridges and understanding between communities.
After the crisis and violence following the 2010 elections, the Ivorian media were accused of being discriminatory and promoting xenophobia and racism. Internews’ project “Radio for social cohesion in the West of Ivory Coast” enabled local media to promote reconciliation and social cohesion through accurate, unbiased journalism that will build long-term resilience against conflict in communities.
“Local media are really important players in the aftermath of a crisis. They can bring together communities with local leaders and development agencies to discuss and scrutinise plans for reconciliation and development. The media can ultimately ensure local people are included in discussions about reconciliation efforts,” said Francesca Silvani, Director of Programmes.
The report, published in early January 2015, emphasizes the importance of promoting listeners’ groups as a means to assuring communal regulation of the radio station and allowing communities to contribute to shaping the programming. Developing financial transparency and long-term financial viability, which is not dependent on external funding, are also highlighted as central goals to ensure sustainability.
A continued professionalization of the media sector is still required to further train journalists and radio presenters in producing reliable, neutral and high quality information. The report also recommends that national and local authorities take responsibility for reinforcing dialogue, reflecting on problems and seeking common solutions. For Ivory Coast, the report concludes that clarifying the radio stations’ status, in terms of ownership and independency, as well as initiating discussion between local radio stations and regulatory authorities would facilitate the possibility for local stations to work uninterruptedly.
Access the full-length report in French.
This report was made possible thanks to the support of Fonds Elaine Jourdain through King Baudouin Foundation.