A media convention programme with the objective to sensitise stakeholders, particularly journalists on media coverage ahead of the general election in December, was yesterday launched in Accra by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).
It had the theme; “The 2020 Election: Role of the media in promoting civility and discernment in the political discourse.”
The programme, which would be replicated in four centres in Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale and Wa to give it a national scope, is being funded by the United States Embassy.
Speaking at the launch, the president of the GJA, Roland Affail Monney, said the convention would internalise the guidelines on electoral reporting and other relevant body of knowledge from some of the purest intellectual gems in the media who would serve as resource persons.
He touted the media for its success in electoral reporting of the conduct of seven elections since 1992, and admonished journalists not to be ‘intoxicated by this feat no matter how narcotic it may be.’
He added that, the media should not be swayed into thinking that, another electoral success would be “happenstance, incredibly there would be high stake, rising tension, ominous clouds and impoundable issues over the vote’sr register. Therefore the media should use its professional, ethical, constitutional, moral and godly responsibilities to help defuse and shape the complexion of this year’s electioneering.”
The GJA president urged media practitioners not to indulge in reckless rhetoric or encourage politicians to do same.
He said the GJA with support of Star Ghana was also pursuing a campaign against political vigilantism to make the law on vigilantism meaningful.
The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, on his part, charged journalists to be circumspect and adopt responsible techniques in their line of duty.
He reminded the media to always remain independent, neutral and discharge their duties without sensationalism.
“Media practitioners must, be bold and fearless in upholding the national interest and never compromise their integrity for any offer because having integrity in the media industry is priceless,” he said.
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Stephanie S. Sullivan, said an independent media play a key role in development, therefore media practitioners should uphold their integrity in their reportage.
She said it was necessary for both nations to be vigilant in the elections since information can be distorted through the internet, social media among others.
Mrs Sullivan cautioned media practitioners to refrain from misleading headlines, but rather be accurate and not biased in their reportage.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR