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Journalists must remain vanguards for peace, development in 2024 — GJA General Secretary

Social News Journalists must remain vanguards for peace, development in 2024— GJA General Secretary
NOV 19, 2023 LISTEN

Mr Kofi Yeboah, the General Secretary of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has urged journalists and media practitioners to remain vanguard for peace and development as the country navigates the tightrope towards the 2024 Election.

He said journalists must remain the bastion for information, education and entertainment as mandated by the Constitution.

He said these values could stimulate the needed development, social cohesion and national integration when well-positioned and journalists educated to play their gate-keeping roles adequately.

Mr Yeboah made these statements when he represented Mr Albert Dwumfuor, GJA President, during the GJA-US Embassy Ghana Elections 2024 project dubbed “Journalists for Peaceful Discourse,” Zone 1 Training and Mini project in Ho.

The Training was organised by the GJA and sponsored by the US Embassy on the theme: “Promoting Peaceful Journalistic Media Platforms Ahead of Elections 2024.”

It was attended by select Journalists, show hosts and hostesses, representatives of political parties and the Electoral Commission.

Mr Yeboah said an uninformed Journalist could not give what he or she does not have, saying, “To be informed by an uninformed person is disinformation.”

He said education was key and important for the gatekeepers and agenda-setters, and journalists needed to uphold ethical standards of journalism as contained in Article Two of the GJA guidelines.

He said journalism thrived on integrity, cautioning Journalists to hasten, but slowly, as speed could injure the accuracy, objectivity and credibility of news stories and insisted that speed should be balanced with accuracy through cross-checking facts.

The General Secretary said the 2024 was more crucial than all previous elections and the make or break would rely on the professionalism or otherwise of Journalists, especially Television and radio hosts and hostesses, as they held seamless opportunities to make the upcoming elections flawless.

He acknowledged that politics was about ideas and development and could not be an avenue for violence and disunity.

Mr Yeboah said the platform provided by the media to politicians to air their ideas must not degenerate into instability and displacement of citizens, saying central to this achievement would be the professionalism of journalists.

He urged Journalists to advocate for peace, distancing themselves from war and warmongering, while providing all stakeholders with equal opportunities on their platforms.

He paid glowing tribute to the US Embassy for their continuous support, resulting in the training of journalists since 2012.

Ms Rebecca Ekpe, the Project Lead and Public Affairs Officer of GJA, said there was a need for Journalists to champion issue-based journalism as the country reached the crossroads to deliver another free, fair and peaceful general election in 2024.

She said GJA's study had shown that radio topped mediums for inciting citizens due to its seamless nature and reach and again remained the most listened-to medium for information, education and entertainment.

She indicated that the responsibility of journalists and media practitioners must rise above reproach and discourage misguided commentaries on their shows.

Ms Ekpe said the country had been zoned into five, for others to benefit from similar training opportunities across the country, with the zones undertaking mini projects that would champion and guarantee peaceful elections.

Mr Fred Duodu, the Secretary of the Volta and Oti Chapter on fact-checking tools for peaceful elections, urged journalists to be guided by what constituted facts and opinions so they could guide their panellists to navigate such lines while on their shows.

He said usually, opinions, which were unscientific and personal feelings were represented as facts, naked truth or reality and that was problematic.

Mr Nuhu Mahama, the Oti Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, gave a brief background of the Commission established by Act 451 of 1993 and mandated as the official body responsible for all public elections, with its independence guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution.

He said the Commission, since its establishment, organised eight successful general elections and was currently preparing for the Elections 2024.

Mr Emmanuel Agbaxode, the Chairman of Volta and Oti GJA Chapter reminded journalists of their unbridled responsibility as the 'fourth estate of the realm' to always rekindle all their exploits in the media industry, especially going into the upcoming elections.

Present at the event were the Volta Regional Secretary, National Democratic Congress, Mr James Gunu, and Mr Stephen Akpablie, the Deputy Secretary of Ho West, New Patriotic Party.

A panel presentation was showcased to demonstrate the technicalities of a typical show hosting with the takeaways of the discussions, being empanelling, topics for shows, time allotment, the credibility of the host and biases.

GNA

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