The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, has called on journalists to exhibit higher sense of responsibility by reporting accurately on issues as election day inches closer.
According to him, upholding such high standards would not only safeguard the peace of the country, but would also protect the sanctity of the profession and ensure the security of journalists.
“We must give full meaning to what we report to avoid being tagged as bias. Promote fairness and balance to ensure that even where people do not agree with you, they still uphold whatever you put out there,” chairman of the NMC emphasised.
Mr Ayeboafo made the call at the launch of the National Media Commission and Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD) Ghana collaborative activity, which was under the theme: “Abusive Language/Hate Speech Monitoring”, in Accra, yesterday.
The collaborative activity would among other things sensitise journalists on responsible reporting before, during and after the elections.
Mr Ayeboafo asked journalists to ensure that their reportage was sincere, factual and verified, stressing that “where you sense that you are not sure, as we say in the newsroom, the best is to stop and spike the story.”
The Director for Advocacy and Policy Engagement, Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, said the media played an important role disseminating information about the conduct of elections.
“As the countdown begins, we will be counting on their reach, influence and power to influence behavior to effectively inform the public in the language they understand about electoral procedures, the does and don’ts, what they should do after the polls are closed, among others,” he said.
Dr Asante said the media’s role in securing a peaceful election depended on how well their gate-keeping role was enforced.
He noted that the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) had been reporting a worrisome trend of rampant use of abusive language.
“In their October report, the Media Foundation reports that 81 indecent expressions were recorded by 45 individuals, who were mostly featured on radio programmes as hosts, discussants/panellists, interviewees and callers,” Dr Asante noted.
Dr Asante said the media could help curb the use of decent language by refusing to empanel people who use their platforms to incite and provoke conflict.
He said of particular concern was platforms owned by politicians where media actors had little control over the content of programmes.
“It is for this reason that we at CDD-Ghana are delighted to be working with the NMC to embark on this monitoring,” Dr Asante said.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL