The Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) yesterday, organised a one-day workshop for media personnel in Accra, on 'Political Reporting' towards December 7th election.
Briefing the media, the President of the GJA, Mr Ransford Tetteh, said, as media practitioners, it is their responsibility in ensuring free, fair and credible election. 'The Ghanaian media remain determined to improve on the coverage of elections which are prime and vital instruments for the establishment of democracy', he added.
He assured that the media will rise to the occasion by exhibiting high professional standards, integrity and media accountability in coverage of December 7 polls and raise public confidence in them to promote good governance and social cohesion.
Mr Tetteh disclosed that the GJA in collaboration with the Electoral Commission (EC) has been mandated to use the Ghana International Press Center (GIPC), as a media resource centre and election relay dissemination point. 'The Centre will be among the first if not the first to receive certified results from EC by fax and email', he further stated.
The Information Service Department (ISD) under the sponsorship of Friedrich Ebert Foundation will provide notice boards onto which results for contestants for both Presidential and Parliamentary elections for all 230 constituencies will be posted.
He further expressed that the GJA under the permission from the EC have also entered into a venture with Sedili and Mobile Content Enterprises to disseminate election results by SMS messages to mobile phone users.
In assisting the media to keep vigillant at the center, a stand-by generator will be provided on the Election Day, in this same vein, a live band to liven up the centre.
Mr Michael Gort, who is in charge d'Affairs, Canadian High Commission, said, it is Canada's fervent hope that democracy will continue to exist in Ghana and that the up-coming election will be free, fair and peaceful. 'The media can play a huge role in the ultimate success or failure of an election', he said.
'He reiterated that Canada (through the Canadian International Development Agency) is working with the Electoral Commission to develop guidelines and provide training to Parliamentary Candidates and Polling Agents. 'We are also supporting Abantu for Development, a Non Governmental Organisation to encourage greater participation by women in the election process'.
He said that after the failure of elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe, the world is asking if there is a future for democracy in Africa. Ghana has the potential to provide an answer that free and fair election is still possible.
'The media's most important role is to observe and report on party platforms and positions of individual candidates, and report on the issues and the process in an impartial way', he stressed.
Dr Doris Yaa Dartey, a Communications Consultant and Educator, advised media practitioners to devoid from personal opinion in their reportage and must always concentrate on credible and factual issues.