Covering elections: the challenges of training the watchdogs

Elections E-government Open government Australia

Beginning in December 2010, a series of dramatic political events in several countries brought into sharp focus the topic of this report–election training for journalists.

Elections in Haiti and Ivory Coast turned unexpectedly chaotic and violent. Elections results in Uganda, Nigeria, Congo–and more recently in Russia–prompted protests and tensions that journalists had to contend with while assessing claims of voting fraud. And the extraordinary popular uprisings that continue to change the face of North Africa and parts of the Middle East are leading to more open and contested elections in that region.
In these places, journalists over the next years may for the first time in decades be covering elections and political campaigns, as citizenry looking for new governance experiment with democracy, multi-party politics, and newly potent civic organizations such as those becoming evident in Tunisia. This is an ideal time for donors to examine the kind of training their money has been supplying in the area of election and campaign coverage.

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