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27.10.2008 Politics

EC briefs media on electoral process

By gna

The Electoral Commission (EC) has appealed to the media to report accurately on issues concerning the December election to enable voters make informed decision.

Mr David Adeenze Kangah, Deputy Chairman in Charge of Finance and Administration, stated at three-day workshop on the electoral process for media practitioners at Koforidua that it was a collective responsibility of all and not the sole responsibility of the EC to ensure that the electoral process was free, fair and transparent.

The workshop was on the theme; “Responsible Reportage, Key to Credible and Peaceful Elections” was organised by the EC in collaboration with the UNDP for journalists.

Mr Kangah said any unfair representation of electioneering issues would not make for free and fair elections and would not give the electorate the opportunity to make informed decisions.

He said the EC facilitated the electoral process by ensuring all materials needed for the election were provided to enable every eligible voter to vote and urged the media to help to educate people on the process.

He said the EC was training agents of political party candidates to observe the election as a means of assisting those who could not afford to train their own agents.

Answering questions from the media Mr Kangah said nobody could manipulate the EC to twist the electoral laws.

He said the presiding officers and party candidate agents were always present to check any malpractices during elections and had the power to sanction offenders when the need arose.

Mr Kangah said the inbuilt checks in the election process would make it impossible for anybody to manipulate the conduct and outcome of the December polls.

He said: “even if the Chairman of a political party is made Chairman of the EC there is no way he can favour his party.”

He said though it was not the job of the EC to train polling agents for the political parties it chose to do so in order to make such agents knowledgeable about the election processes and to help them overcome their timidity.

Mr Kangah advised journalists and others who would be on duty at polling stations to get accreditation from the EC to avoid being thrown out by the presiding officers.

Mr Albert Kofi Arhin, EC Director in Charge of Elections, appealed to journalists to be careful about their choice of words when reporting on the election, making sure that their reports reflected the real situation on the ground and not based on assumptions.

He conceded that it was possible that some of the temporary staff recruited for the elections might not be of the right calibre but gave the assurance that officers found wanting would be removed.

He said in all large-scale recruitment exercises, it was difficult to vouch for the integrity of everybody, especially in a situation where some of the recruiting officers might follow the trend in Ghana to favour relatives.

About 50 journalists from the Ghana News Agency, print and electronic media attended the three-day workshop.

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