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13.09.2005 General News

Minister tasks media to focus on dev'tal issues

GNA

Accra, Sept. 13, GNA - Professor Mike Oquaye, Minister of Energy on Tuesday urged the media to take up issues that benefit citizens and the entire nation, rather than taking delight in fabricating stories to destabilize the country.

"In the wake of the diverse media in the country, journalists and media practitioners in Ghana must exercise great circumspection in their reportage," Prof Oquaye said at the opening of a two-day conference on the 2004 general elections.

The Conference was to discuss research findings on the 2004 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections conducted by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Legon. The Energy Minister also called for the tolerance of divergent views, especially from opponents.

"Tolerance is an essential ingredient in the recipe of matured democracy and a fundamental tenet that has helped to sustain advanced democracies in the face of emerging threats," he added.

Prof Oquaye therefore appealed the leadership of political parties, religious bodies, and civil society organizations to adopt intensive strategies to educate their members to be tolerant of divergent views. He acknowledged the important role of opposition political parties in advancing democratic governance by keeping government on its toes, but said they must do so constructively.

The Opposition parties must also show by making constructive contributions to nation building and policy formulation, that they are an alternative government, he said.

Prof Kwame Boafo-Arthur, a lecturer at the Political Science Department, noted that the 2004 polls portrayed the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress as the two dominant groupings out of a total of 10 registered parties in the country.

He said the elections also exposed how weak electoral surveys in Ghana were, explaining that either the tools used for such surveys were suspects, flawed or the variables used were unscientific.

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