Towards Peaceful Elections: JOURNALISTS URGED NOT TO HEIGHTEN TENSION
8/3/2012 4:21:48 PM -
With barely five months to the crucial general elections in December, Madam Charlotte Osei, Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has reiterated the need for media practitioners countrywide to avoid heightening tension.
According to her, journalists have critical roles to play in the line of their duties to ensure that the fledgling nature of Ghana's democracy is sustained and improved.
'The media therefore should increase its watchdog role in the society to ensure that their any report on the 2012 General Election is fair, balanced, accurate and objective,' the NCCE Boss charged.
The NCCE Boss was speaking on Tuesday at a one-day sesitization workshop for media owners and chief executives of media organizations held at Akosombo in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
The workshop which was on the theme 'Stand Up For Ghana', brought together members of Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), newspaper publishers, senior editors and other journalists.
According to the NCCE the workshop, which was the fourth in the series of more to come from now to December, formed part efforts by the NCCE to sustain the country's democracy for the 2012 elections by educating and sensitising the public about their civic rights and responsibilities.
Madam Osei told the journalists to be mindful of the fact that they are first of all Ghanaians before journalists and must put their political interest aside and hold on to the spirit of patriotism and collaborate with the NCCE to ensure a better nation.
Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Haruna Attah, Board Member of the Ghana News Agency and a resource person at the function indicated that events leading to the coming elections are already creating tensions and cautioned the media practitioners to exercise extreme professionalism in order not to plunge the country into civil war.
He noted that the issue of media ownership and pluralism had often been observed by others as negative saying: 'Media pluralism must however be seen as the source of growth and civilization and must be accepted and not be disregarded.'
Alhaji Haruna Attah who also spoke on the guidelines for fair and equitable coverage of political parties by the state-owned media noted that the public media has a positive role in maintaining peace by giving balance reportage to all parties.
He stressed that the private media was equally enjoined to adhere to the guidelines of the state media by being fair and equitable to all political parties to avoid unnecessary agitations.
Alhaji Attah advised the radio stations to be careful by not rushing to churn out inaccurate information relating to the election results, which are not confirmed by the Electoral Commission, since it has the tendency to create mayhem.
In a remark, Dr. Vladmir Antwi-Danso, a Senior Research Fellow at the Legon Centre for International Affairs at the University of Ghana, who doubled as the chairman for the ocassion threw more light on the need to ensure responsible journalism.
'The media is located in the matrix of governance there is therefore the need to ensure that some level of sanity is injected into the fabric of the Ghanaian journalist,' Dr. Vladmir Antwi-Danso pointed out.
He said it is important for the media to acknowledge the essence of democracy consolidation and place premium on code of ethics set by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the National Media Commission (NMC).