10.08.2004 General News

Germany equipped NMC to monitor Elections 2004

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Accra, Aug. 10, GNA - The German Government through the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) on Tuesday donated media monitoring equipment valued at 20,000 Euros to the National Media Commission (NMC) in Accra. The equipment include; four television sets; six computers and accessories; monitoring radio; video deck; ear phones, portable tape recorders with cassettes; vesper motorbike and photocopier.

Presenting the equipment to the NMC through the Ministry of Information, Mr Peter Linder, the German Ambassador stated: "Democracy and good governance are essential prerequisites for poverty-reduction oriented development.

"While elections are the milestones of democratic development, a free, critical and reliable press plays a decisive role as the fourth power, for the attainment of these goals," he said.

Mr Linder acknowledged that the growth of democratic governance depended on the continual, comprehensive and truthful information flow to the populace on the political process to enable them to make informed choices.

This, he said, was of particular importance during campaign periods; as the outcome of the elections would decide basic political policies and the distribution of power for the next four years. He cautioned media practitioners against falling prey to the gimmick of politicians and stressed, "you must avoid the temptation to deceive voters by false, unfair and biased reportage".

Mr Linder said it was, therefore, of high importance that a process and an institution was put in place to monitor that neutrality and independence in reporting on divergent views, which must be maintained and to play the role of mediator to resolve potential conflicts.

The German Ambassador said the contribution would further strengthen the cooperation between the two countries in the area of democracy and good governance as well as enhance the work of the FES. Nana Akomea, Minister of Information, who received the equipment on behalf of the Government, noted that press freedom was the bedrock of all other freedoms including the right to life. He said the equipment would help enhance the democratic development of the country.

He expressed concern about excessive focus of the Media on politics to the neglect of Development Journalism.

Mr Wilson Kusi-Atansah, NMC Chairman, reminded Journalists of their constitutional obligations to maintain high professional standards, especially in the reportage on political and elections related issues.

"These Constitutional obligations need to be operative and translated into action. Whereas it is true that fair reportage is at all times a major concern of the public, the fact that this year is an election year reinforces the anxiety of political parties, civil society and the electorate for a more balanced and informed reportage," he said.

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