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Journalists and CSOs gear up  for historic BARMM elections

THIRTY media representatives and civil society organization (CSO) members convened for a critical forum: “The Role of Civil Society and the Media in Defending Election Integrity” on Wednesday, March 27, at Dusit Thani Hotel. 

THE landmark event, spearheaded by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) in collaboration with the UK government, served as a crucial preparatory step for the upcoming historic elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

WFD program manager Judy Ann Lubiano emphasized the forum’s significance, highlighting its role in promoting clean and credible elections. 

“We aim to foster open dialogue and gather valuable insights from key stakeholders in BARMM,” she explained. “This includes members of parliament, their supporting offices, CSOs, and of course, the media.”

BARMM Member of Parliament Atty. Suharto Ambolodto played a central role in overseeing the day-long forum. Discussions delved into the core security concerns surrounding the elections, identifying potential threats and formulating practical solutions to safeguard their integrity.

Key topics likely explored included: Countering Electoral Violence and Intimidation: Strategies for identifying and mitigating threats against voters, candidates, and election officials would be a major focus. This could involve collaboration between media, CSOs, and security forces to monitor potential flashpoints and ensure a peaceful environment; Disrupting Electoral Malpractice: The forum likely addressed methods to detect and prevent vote-buying, manipulation of results, and other forms of fraud. 

Organizers also recognize the need to train journalists to identify suspicious activity and CSOs to promote legal reporting mechanisms.

Combating Misinformation and Disinformation Campaigns: Discussions likely emphasized the importance of fact-checking and verifying information to counter efforts to mislead voters and sow discord. Here, journalists’ role in providing accurate and unbiased reporting becomes paramount.

This forum signifies a proactive approach to securing a violence-free and transparent electoral process in the BARMM. By empowering media and civil society to play a vital role alongside law enforcement and military personnel, this initiative paves the way for a more secure and stable democratic future in the region.


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