MONROVIA – Several political parties in Liberia have reaffirmed their commitment to responsible social media use to promote peace during and after the 2023 elections in the country.
The political parties including the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL), Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), the Unity Party, and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) among others, made the commitment at a day-long workshop organized by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and partners to monitor social media, held in Sinkor.
Political parties in attendance committed themselves to the following clause of the Farmington Declaration for a responsible social media including, desisting from campaigns that involve human rights abuses, hate speech, and all forms of violence, class denigration, vilification of social origins and background, ethnic victimization, or religious incitement, both by political parties or coalitions and by all agents, candidates, supporters. They pledged to run issue-based campaigns.
They also committed to avoid using language at campaigns that are inflammatory, or defamatory as well as language that threatens or incites violence in any form against any other political party, coalition/collaboration, alliance, person, or group of people.
The clause, at the same time, called on political parties and supporters to desist from disseminating inaccurate information on electoral processes; an act that has the propensity to incite any form of violence or intimidation and human rights abuses, before, during, and after the elections, particularly against women and person with disabilities.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by the National Elections Commission (NEC), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and the media. Making remarks, CDC Chairman, Montserrado Chapter and Chairman of all Counties’ Chairperson, Atty. Alexander Saylee, assured the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and its partners of the party’s commitment to the process leading to peaceful elections in the country. Atty. Saylee encouraged all political parties to condemn all social media content that speaks against peaceful elections.
“So, we want to use this medium to appeal to us, as a political party, seeking to be reelected, or elected to not abuse social media. Let us use it positively in the best interest of our country because after elections, Liberia will remain. Liberia and Liberians will not be torn apart,” Mr. Saylee said.
Also speaking, UP National Chairman, Luther Tarpeh, acknowledged the critical role social media plays in the country’s elections. Rev. Tarpeh pledged the UP commitment to responsible social media with calls on all supporters of the ruling or opposition, mostly young people, to refrain from inciting comments and acts that have the ability to undermine the election process.
“I stand here to reaffirm the Unity Party Commitment to the Farmington Declaration and we will do everything we can to keep the ideals and tenets of the peace agreement to keep our country peaceful,” Rev. Tarpeh said.
Like UP and the CDC, other political parties in attendance that affix their signatures to the Farmington River Declaration and its provision on Responsible Social media behavior include G. Marvelous A. Gibsow, and Julu M. Johnson Jr. of EFFL, Rev. Josiah Kennedy and James P. Morris of ANC/CPP among others.
Also making remarks, the country program Manager at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Emmanuel N. Bawoh lauded the political parties for their commitment to upholding the country’s peace.
Mr. Bawoh also used the occasion to call on every political leader to use their social media pages to promote peaceful elections.