The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs. Charlotte Osei, has called for sanity in the media landscape in the run-up to the December 7 polls.
Mrs. Osei, who was the guest speaker at the 21st Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Awards and Dinner Night over the weekend, said a sanitised and well informed media was critical for the success of the election.
The EC chair observed that the media was filled with insults and attacks on personalities and institutions and stressed the need for media practitioners and owners to conduct themselves well during the election period.
She said the conduct and misconduct of media practitioners could have far reaching consequence on the success of the elections.
Mrs. Osei invited the media to assist the commission to deliver a world class election in December.
She said the role of the media had changed from conveyers of results to active observers, while urging practitioners to use their pen and keyboard to help ensure a free and fair election.
“The media has a role to protect the interest of the public. You are the voice of the voiceless. You must be responsible, you must act within the law and respect the values of the society,” she said.
The Dormaahene, Osagyefo Oseadeayo Agyeman Badu II, urged the media not to allow their platform to be used by politicians to trade insults against each other. He said the country would be heading in the wrong direction if the media gave politicians the space to trade insults, instead of engaging in issues-based debate.
Osagyefo Agyeman Badu II said the media had a very important role to play in deepening the country’s democracy and advised practitioners to publish accurate and balanced stories in order to win public trust and confidence.
The Dormaahene, who is also a sitting High Court Judge, appealed to the media to encourage issue based campaigning to ensure a balanced and stable democracy.
He said the media was an important vehicle in consolidating multiparty democracy, and urged it to provide an equal playing field to all presidential and parliamentary candidates to communicate their social, economic and political programmes to the public.
He reminded the media of its traditional role of educating, entertaining and informing the public and the need to uphold the highest journalistic standard of truthfulness, accuracy, fairness and objectivity, stressing that the media could win public confidence if it held those principles sacred.
Oseadeayo Agyamang Badu II hailed the media and the Ghana Journalists Association for ensuring the sustenance of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and encouraged the association to continue to maintain high standards.
He also paid tribute to veteran journalists including Kwesi Pratt Jnr, editor of the Insight Newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, editor in-Chief of the Crusading Guide and Affail Monnie, president of the Ghana Journalists Association for their excellence and immense contribution to deepening the democracy of Ghana.
He urged the media to focus attention on sanitation and galamsey which he said had become a matter of serious concern to the development of Ghana.
The Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, said a large chunk of the credit to the country’s democratic gains should be given to the media because practitioners had played a very important role in safeguarding the country’s democracy.
However, he said the media landscape was being threatened by some irresponsible media practitioners and advised such journalists to “stop the recklessness”.
He urged media practitioners to sharpen their skills and abreast themselves with the electoral laws in order to report on the elections adequately.
The Minister reiterated that the government had no intention to shut down social media during the election period.
By Yaw Kyei