NAIROBI, 23 September 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Stakeholders in Somaliland need to reach a consensus on the role the media can play before, during and after elections to avoid election violence, a report says.

The report, entitled The Role of the Media in the Upcoming Somaliland Elections: Lessons from Kenya, discusses potential scenarios and interventions in the run-up to Somaliland’s elections and compares them with the post-election violence experienced in Kenya in 2008.

It is published by the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford, Center for Global Communication Studies at University of Pennsylvania and Stanhope Centre for Communications Policy Research, London.

Both countries have polarized electorates with significant political and economic grievances, political parties accused of manipulating the system, weak institutions and politically influential media. “The challenge… is how the media can be harnessed for nation-building rather than partisan politics and violence,” the report notes.

Somaliland’s elections were planned for 27 September, but were postponed.