(Accra,GNA) – The Board of Directors of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has expressed concern about the Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of West Africa and called for intensified efforts to contain it.
It has, therefore, appealed to the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, the international community, national governments and civil society groups to work together to contain the disease.
A 12-point resolution issued at the end of the second annual meeting of the MFWA in Accra and copied to the GNA on Tuesday said restrictive measures being adopted by some governments to limit the media’s ability and freedom to provide effective coverage on the Ebola outbreak was unhelpful and counter-productive.
The two-day meeting, held on October 17 and 18, 2014, discussed and reviewed a number of strategic issues relating to the operations of the organization as well as the broader issues of freedom of expression and the Ebola outbreak in the West African sub-region.
“Given the critical role of public education in containing the outbreak and the important role of the media in that regard, the Board calls on governments in the region to respect and protect media freedom, and guarantee access to information about the disease among citizens so that they are better informed about areas to avoid and other preventive measures to take as well as what to do if they suspect that they have been infected,” the resolution said.
Another major issue in the resolution was the slow pace of the digital migration process in West Africa, the low level of public awareness on migration, and the potentially massive implications of the digital migration process on freedom of expression and access to information.
“Mindful of the fact that digital migration will require policy, legal and regulatory reforms, the Board calls on governments to adopt a multi-stakeholder and consultative approach in all policy, legal and regulatory reform processes associated with digital migration so that all critical stakeholders can be effectively engaged,” it said.
The Board unanimously approved the nomination of Mrs Sophie Ly Sow, a Senegalese with several years of experience leading and managing non-profits, as its newest member and welcomed her to the Board.
Among many other experiences, Mrs Sow opened and managed the West Africa office of Panos Institute in Dakar from 1992 to 1994. She served as Secretary General of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters in Montreal, Canada, from 1995 to 2001.
From 2005 to 2007, Mrs Sow was in charge of the Media Programme of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa and was in charge of Oxfam America’s regional communication from 2007 to 2009.