26.09.2004 Politics

Media reports can have influence on the electorate

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Tamale, Sept 26, GNA- The Archbishop of Tamale Catholic Diocese Gregory Kpiebayaa, last Thursday said the media could play a useful role in the December elections.

He explained that media reportage on the elections could either convince the electorates to turn out in numbers on the voting day or deter them.

The Bishop said this in a speech read for him at a day's seminar, organised for the Media and some civil society groups in Tamale, under the theme: " The Media and Election 2004".

Archbishop Kpiebayaa said: " reportage on elections should as much as possible, be free from any form of sensationalism. We should be committed to the facts, always conscious of the national interest first and not for the interest of a particular group."

He said election was a great national investment and that nothing should be done to jeopardize its success.

Mr Alfred Sallia Fawundu, UNDP Country Representative in Ghana said the relationship between the media and the elections was very important in democracy and that it must be well nurtured. He said the French Embassy, UNDP and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) regard newspapers, radio and the Television as very important in election campaign because of their impartiality and objectivity.

"The media's messages can mar or make the peaceful atmosphere that has characterized the Ghanaian politics," he said.

Mr Fawundu who is also UN Resident Coordinator, urged the media to do all that was required of it to propagate messages that could sustain Ghana's stability.

He said the French Embassy was fully committed to ensuring that Ghana deepens its experience in democratic governance so as to sustain peace in the country.

Mr Bright Blewu, General-Secretary of the GJA called on journalists to exhibit a high sense of professionalism to ensure peaceful, free and fair elections.

He said the media had contributed significantly in building confidence in the electoral process.

The GJA in collaboration with the French Embassy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), organised the Forum.

About 70 participants attended the seminar, which aimed at evaluating the 2000 election coverage and ethics in election reportage.

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