During Geneva Peace Week 2023, Fondation Hirondelle, in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, organised a panel entitled: "Information in the Sahel, a peace issue?".
Journalists, researchers and African and European officials discussed possible non-military measures to be supported in the Sahel to restore peace. The exclusively military response of the international community over the last ten years to restoring peace in the Sahel has proved ineffective, failing to tackle the root causes of the region's instability. Key areas such as social stability, education and food security have been largely overlooked in this approach. The role of the independent media is precisely to cover these concerns on a daily basis, to make the voices of local populations heard and to try to engage all stakeholders in dialogue.
Unfortunately, the media in the Sahel face major challenges today. Civic space is shrinking and pressure on the media is increasing, with tighter controls, censorship, suspension of media outlets, arrests of journalists and so on. The information ecosystem in the Sahel is fragmented and fragile. Although it is home to a large number of media, their level of professionalism is low, making them vulnerable to partisan exploitation.
Disinformation has been spreading widely in the Sahel for years, spreading discord and confusion. Diversified and reliable information is an obvious antidote to disinformation. Governments can contribute to this by guaranteeing press freedom and encouraging the development of independent, free, pluralistic and diversified media.
- Emanuela Claudia Del Re, European Union Special Representative for the Sahel.
- Antonio Sánchez-Benedito Gaspar, Ambassador, Spanish Special Envoy for the Sahel.
- Ornella Moderan, Political and security analyst working in the Sahel and West Africa.
- Mouhamadou Touré, Senior journalist at Studio Tamani in Mali, Fondation Hirondelle.
Moderated by :
- Cédrine Beney, Ambassador, Swiss Special Envoy for the Sahel.