Today’s gathering however calls us to look beyond the media’s traditional role as a conduit for information, a stimulator of public debate and a tool of accountability, and focus on its role in the context of conflict or political upheaval and post conflict situations.
The media has a major role to play both during and after conflict. They have the potential to prevent conflict, and ease social tensions but can also fan the ambers of conflict. One cannot soon forget the role played by the media in the Rwandan conflict, through the incitement of genocide by RTLM.
We have also been witness to a greater extent on how the media can and often is a force for good, be it through the brave acts of reporting on the excesses of a tyrannical government even in the face of suppression, as we witnessed in The Gambia over the past years, or exposing the barbaric realities of a conflict to drive international intervention as we witnessed in Sierra Leone during the civil war.