By Foday Moriba Conteh
On Tuesday, December 5, 2023, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) signed a historic four-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The MoU, signed by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Dr. Omar Alieu Touray and the Executive Director of the MFWA, Sulemana Braimah, seeks to enhance collaboration and cooperation between the two organizations.
In pursuit of the objectives of the MoU, ECOWAS and MFWA will focus on a number of strategic areas of cooperation aimed at enhancing democratic values, media freedom and development, human rights and peace in the region.
The specific areas of cooperation include: building media capacity to contribute to enhancing democratic norms and values; enhancing the media’s role in countering narratives of violent extremism, polarization, radicalization, mis/disinformation and hate speech; promoting media freedom, freedom of expression (online and offline) and access to information; and coordination with regional media partners to enhance citizens’ awareness of ECOWAS and its activities across Member States.
At the signing ceremony, the ECOWAS Commissioner for the Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Ambassador Abdel-Fatau Musah (PhD), reiterated the strategic role of the MFWA as a partner of choice that has the capacity to contribute to dealing with the critical challenges facing the region. He highlighted the role of the media in mobilizing public opinion in support of democratic values and countering anti-democratic narratives that appear to be on the rise in the region.
Commissioner Adbel-Fatau Musah noted that the MoU with the MFWA was also critical because of the invaluable role of the media in promoting ECOWAS’ vision 2050, which is: ECOWAS of the peoples: peace and prosperity for all.
On his part, the Executive Director of the MFWA expressed his delight about the formalization of relations between the two organizations, noting that the partnership provides a great opportunity to build synergies and leverage on each other’s capacities and resources to effectively confront the critical challenges facing the region.
In attendance at the signing ceremony were other senior ECOWAS officials and senior staff of the MFWA.