CEMESP’s mission is to work with all relevant stakeholders to promote a free media that fosters democratic accountability as a basis for pro-people interventions, peace consolidation and enduring development. CEMESP’s vision is for a peaceful and democratic Liberia guided by the principles of equality and development for all citizens and respect for human rights and freedom of expression.
The Liberian Freedom of Information Act
Through campaigning and robust advocacy, the centre was influential in the culmination of the Liberian Freedom of Information Act. As evidence of this, the centre's executive director was awarded the Pan-African Access to Freedom of Information award at the Windhoek forum in South Africa.
The Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) emerged to confront the problems that undermine media practice and free speech in conflict situations and peace processes. As such, its role has been to strengthen the work of media professionals, peacebuilding and human rights organisations through the development of capacity to understand, anticipate, plan and forecast solutions to conflict.
CEMESP’s media projects mainly target institutions involved in actively searching for peace and helping to solve Liberia’s development problems as a way of preventing a relapse into conflict.
Since 2000, the centre has supported the institutional development of the media (both traditional and modern) in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. The centre has conducted training for more than 200 journalists, traditional communicators and local leaders across the country in the areas of peace building and development. In the same year, with the support of UNESCO, CEMESP has launched an online media documentation centre www.cemesp-liberia.org for Liberia.
Through the executive director, CEMESP coordinates the working group of the Liberia Media Law and Policy Reform Process and leads the Liberia Coalition for Freedom of Expression.
CEMESP conducted a content analysis survey of four radio stations in Monrovia. The survey was conducted in collaboration with the Institute of Applied Media Studies based at the University of Zurich in Switzerland from January- April 2007. CEMESP, in partnership with the Institute of Applied Media Studies of Switzerland in 2008, commenced a research project on conflict journalism in Liberia.
CEMESP, with support from the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) monitored, documented and issued alerts on attacks on free expression in Liberia in 2006.
In 2006, CEMESP conducted an evaluation of the Public Awareness Campaign on Small Arms and Light Weapons conducted by the UNDP. Additionally since 2006, CEMESP with support from National Endowment for Democracy NED, has conducted several long term training programmes for Liberian journalists and media practitioners.
In 2009, CEMESP conducted an evaluation of the West Africa Democracy Radio Charles Taylor trial project in Liberia.
In early 2010, CEMESP with support from the WADR and OSIWA, conducted a week long training workshop for community radio technicians.
CEMESP has also developed a directory of Liberia’s media practitioners and institutions, on behalf of PANOS Institute West Africa, and a detailed country report of community radios in Liberia, on behalf of the World Association of Community Radios (AMARC). CEMESP has also done a research on religious broadcasting, on behalf of PANOS.
As part of its role in improving the peacebuilding capacity of the Liberian media, CEMESP since its founding, has hosted over two dozen training workshops with various organisations, including the UNDP, UNESCO, NED, IFEX, and international media support among others.
The organisation has also been vigorous in advocating for press freedom and free speech, and holds membership of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) , ARMARC, the West African Civil Society Forum, the West African Network for Peace Building, and the Liberia Media Law and Policy Reform Working Group. CEMESP currently heads the Liberian Coalition for Free expression.
CEMESP has provided support for West Africa Democracy Radio, media rights agenda, Journalists for Human Rights, PANOS Institute West Africa, World Association of Community Radio (AMARC), West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), and the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia. CEMESP also serves as the secretariat and coordinating body for the Liberia Media Law and Policy Reform Process and the Liberia Freedom of Information Coalition. Currently, the organisation is implementing a project titled Freedom of Information Literacy and Publication, funded by UNESCO, as well as Making Women Political Rights a Reality funded by the Open Society Institute International Women’s Program.
CEMESP is registered under Liberian laws through articles of incorporation and NGO accreditation, and is runby eight full-time staff. It has a board of eight, including the executive director as secretary to the board of directors. The board meets annually to chart the policy direction of CEMESP.