The IGAD Centre of Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (ICEPCVE) hosted its inaugural regional media round-table on 24 June 2020. The objective of the meeting was to discuss the formal establishment of a regional media network to collaborate with ICEPCVE in increasing local media support for preventing and countering violent extremism. The round-table brought together 13 radio, print and TV media professionals from Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda
The theme of the meeting was ‘What is the role of media in mitigating radicalization into violent extremism during the COVID-19 pandemic?’ It was designed to open up discussion with regional media to contribute to conversations on the role of media in mitigating radicalization into violent extremism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The theory of change is that a collaboration with regional media will lead to increased awareness to detect violent extremist ideologies AND a change of attitude in the society towards more deliberate support against violent extremist groups.
The objective of the media round-table was to create a platform for:
- Cross-learning on success stories of how media is mitigating VE during the pandemic
- Discussion for novel ideas and thinking at the regional level
- An opportunity for civil society and media to exchange ideas
- Identifying the most appropriate mechanisms for engaging the media in the Horn and East Africa
- Developing a network that serves the interests of the regional media
This was followed by a 5-day (13 to 17 July) social media campaign in Arabic, English and Swahili, through which they lent their voice to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the hashtag #wewillrise, locally influential voices from the Horn and East Africa encouraged their audiences to be wary of fake news and propaganda being perpetuated by violent extremist groups during the pandemic. The Centre will continue to support the media professionals for cross-learning on success stories of how media is mitigating VE during the pandemic and through the establishment of a regional media network.