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22.10.2008 Politics

Media should not be pawns for politicians-Ayeboafoh

By gna

Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, General Manager, Graphic Communication Group Limited on Wednesday asked the media to be cautious in stories put out by politicians in order not to be seen as pawns in the hands

of any political party.

" Journalism can not be subordinated. The moment they do, they loose their essence and effectiveness", he added.

Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh made the call in Accra at this year's Sam Arthur Memorial Lecture organised by the Ghana Institute of Journalism under the theme: "The Media in the Hands of Politicians, Implication for 2008 General Elections".

He therefore urged the media to be objective and committed by ensuring that their reports were factual, accurate, valid and verifiable.

"It is only when these principles are upheld that the media become useful for national unity and integration", he noted.

He added: "We must be in control and work towards peace and conciliation rather than become war-mongers and focus on national integration",

Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh also observed that there was no need for the media to introduce adjectives such as " mammoth, well-attended or intolerant party' in their reportage, since these have some negative implications.

He tasked the media to impress on the public to refrain from violence or any unlawful acts, educate them on why they should not allow themselves to be abused or misused and empower them to exercise their franchise whilst respecting the rights of opposing factions as well.

"No Ghanaian should die because of elections, those for whom they are ready to fight know so well that fighting is not necessary, what is important is to allow the people to freely, peacefully and voluntarily chose their leaders", the General Manager added.

He reminded journalists that although they worked for an employer, they owned an equal responsibility to society and should therefore abide by the National Media Commission's guidelines for political reporting that demanded the publication of truthful, unbiased information.

On the part of politicians, Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh entreated them not unjustifiably destroy the integrity and character of opponent, but to act in ways that would promote and enhance democratic stability and constitutionalism.

"Political parties and their leadership must equally meet all obligations and responsibilities to be faithful to Article 41 of the 1992 Constitution which provides that the exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedoms is inseparable from performance of duties and obligation.

Mr Kofi Amponsah-Bediako, Government Spokesperson for Social Services who chaired the lecture also reminded the fourth estate of the realm to reinforce their support for effective political actions and focus on educating the public on controversial policies and issues to enable them make informed decisions.

Sam Arthur was a Director of GIJ from 1962 to 1963; he is described as an epitome of free and independent journalism.