The Vice President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Linda Asante–Agyei has warned political actors to take their hands off journalists and allow them to perform their watchdog role before, during and after the December 7 elections.
According to her, an attack on a journalist is an attack on all journalists in the country and an attack on journalists is an attack on the country's democracy.
“If our democracy is attacked, definitely, the soul of this nation is also attacked; therefore we need to preserve the peace that we have so that we all enjoy a peaceful democracy that we have.”
She was addressing participants at a national forum on “Media and the 2020 Elections in Ghana' organized by the Media Foundation for West African in Accra.
The forum attracted various stakeholders in the electoral ecosystem including the Electoral Commission, Ghana Police Service and the Military, Representatives from the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana, Ghana Community Radio Network, The National Peace Council Nation Commission For Civic Education And The National Media Commission, among others who deliberated on issues regarding media professionalism, safety of journalists and the role of the media in contributing to a peaceful elections.
Mrs Asante-Adjei continued that Ghana has over the years enjoyed peaceful elections and to continue for 2020, the media as usual have a very critical role to play.
“We are calling on journalist to continue to intensify their watch dog role and report by going strictly by the ethics of the profession.”
She revealed that with support from the United States embassy, several training on elections reporting have been organized for media practitioners across the country.
“Second week in November , we will be having some training for photo journalists and camera men as well, together with the police because they are also a group of people that we have left out when it comes to training.”
“They also have their own concerns and challenges which they think they have to meet with the security agencies to also let them understand the nature of their job.”
The Director of Police Public Affairs, Superintendent Sheila Kessie Abayie Buckman in an statement said the police from its resources have been training journalists reporting on crime across the country.
“There is the need for the media to build relations with the security agencies. The security personnel are also human and are able to relate to people they know well .”
“Journalists when reporting on security issues must always think of their safety first depending on the circumstance before thinking of their story since when they take undue risk, they do not only endanger themselves but several others,” she stated.
Dr Imrana Mohammed Deputy Director of the NCCE added that his organization is doing its best to educate the public on some of the electoral issues.
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