Mr. Kwesi Jonah, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), has noted that pre-election tensions that engulfs the country in every election year, is due to the duopoly enjoyed by the two dominant parties in the country.
The dominance of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), he said had led to the polarisation of the country sharply on political lines.
This situation denies the citizenry a decent debate on alternative policies proposed by other political groupings, he observed.
Opening a three-day workshop to educate journalists on election reporting here at Sogakope in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region yesterday, Mr. Jonah said the media must help in reducing the duopoly by giving more space to other parties.
He said if this was done, tensions associated with elections in the country would be reduced and give way to useful debates for national development.
The workshop, organised by the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) and funded by the American Embassy in Ghana, is to ensure effective election reporting in the lead-up to the December polls.
Topics discussed at the workshop include ‘What makes good political Journalism’, ‘Applying research in election and opinion polls reporting’, ‘Reporting electoral conflict’, ‘Political Journalism: The watchdog role’ among others.
Mr. Jonah said the workshop sought to enlighten political reporters on their role in covering the parliamentary and presidential polls slated for December 7.
According to Mr Jonah, the tension ahead of the polls had reached on all time high because of the 2013 election petition hearing.
Mr. Jonah stressed that the incessant use of intemperate language and the increase in political vigilante groups, points to the direction that Ghana was in for a poll that was likely to be characterised by violence.
He asked journaliss to ensure that they reported adequately in consonance with their responsibility to the country for a sustainable democracy.
The Rector of the GIJ, Dr. Wilberforce Dzisah, said building the capacity of political reporters ahead of the polls was crucial to fair reportage on the electoral process.
He said the GIJ as the premier communication school in the country, was committed to enhancing the competencies of reporters and believed the workshop would improve the professionalism of beneficiaries.
Dr Dzisah urged the 20 journalists to strictly adhere to the principles of fairness and balance in the discharge of their duties so that they could serve as the link between the electorate and the political class.
From Julius Yao Petetsi, Sogakope