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25.11.2020 Editorial

Polls Reportage: Ghana First

By Daily Guide
Polls Reportage: Ghana First
LISTEN NOV 25, 2020

Both the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Ms. Jean Mensa and President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Affail Monney spoke about the national interest as far as reporting on next month's elections is concerned.

That, of course, underscores the importance of accurate reportage with the national interest as cornerstones.

The two persons addressed journalists yesterday during the opening segment of a workshop on electoral issues for media practitioners.

There could not have been a more appropriate subject than the integrity of reportage on the polls when addressing members of the inky fraternity at this time of the calendar of our democracy.

On the dawn of presidential and parliamentary elections, the media space is peopled with all manner of characters; some of them so much entrenched in their positions that the tendency for them to ignore the ethics of the profession is high.

The effects of this unethical conduct can be telling on the quality of democracy in the country.

We have reached critical crossroads in our democratic practice where caution and responsibility should be the watchwords in how we report.

With a sizeable number of citizens gullible and with the tendency to digest everything that is spewed by journalists in print and by word of mouth, the country could be pushed to the precipice when irresponsible conduct overshadows decency.

All stakeholders, the media, citizens, security agencies and managers of the electoral process have roles to play towards ensuring peace as we go to the polls.

Ghana would be a cynosure of the world should she clinch another victory on how she manages her electoral process next month. After all, as Ms. Jean Mensa said, “Ghana Must Win. Ghana Will Win.”

Journalists should interrogate wild and unsubstantiated allegations and opinions by politicians which impugn on the quality of the electoral process.

Confidence in the electoral process should be unwavering because that is the way to ensure a solid democracy. This can only be achieved when the media plays its role responsibly and with the national interest as the goal.

With the onerous responsibility of reporting everything about the polls, it behooves the media to be responsible, which is why it enjoys certain privileges such as accessing information necessary for transmission to the public.

A slip of the pen or tongue deliberately or otherwise can spell the difference between peace and chaos.

With no other country besides our dear Ghana that we can call our own, the significance of being responsible in our reportage cannot be marginalised.

Unfortunately, we are today besieged by a plethora of incredible social platforms; some of them churning out toxic stuff called stories, with the intention to create confusion.

In an era in which the fear of being seen as working against the freedom of expression and the media is overwhelming, checking the irresponsible conduct of managers of these indecent platforms could be misconstrued.

All that such persons should understand is that it is easy to ignite trouble but rather costly and difficult to reverse the consequences.

A word to the wise is not only enough but crucial, especially at this time.

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