Politicians urged to turn negative gossips to positives
The Head of Department for Communication Studies at the University of Media, Arts and Communications (UniMAC)-Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Dr Lawrencia Agyepong has urged politicians and political leaders to turn negative gossips about them during election periods into a positive ones.
According to him, negative gossips during electioneering periods influence decisions of some potential voters negatively, affecting the number of votes for that particular candidate.
She made this known at the Directorate of Research, Innovation and Development inter-Faculty Research Lecture held in Accra, on Friday.
It had the theme; “Deadly Whispers: Understanding the Role of Gossip in Political Campaigns.”
Dr Agyepong said according to her research, about a third of people feel that negative gossip would shape their opinion about their preferred candidate negatively.
She said people see positive gossips as the reinforcement of their opinion of political candidates during elections, which influence them the most to vote for these candidates.
“As much as you want to ignore the gossip, remember that we have a lot of swing voters in the country, so if that negative gossip causes those swing voters, even just a small percentage of them to change their mind about voting for you, that can be really impactful in a long run,” she stated.
Dr Agyepong advised political party candidates not to ignore negative gossips during political campaigns since it can influence opinion of their potential voters.
She said they should try and address those gossips and turn them into something positive to influence these peoples’ opinions positively.
Dr Agyepong said gossip has a social role that it plays in the society but people were only centered on the negative side of it once it was mentioned.
However, she was focused on the political aspect of it and the pattern it plays in political campaigns in the country’s political system.
“I want to assess the impact of negative gossip on political candidate during election periods because during every campaign season, there are a lot of gossips that is put out there about aspirants,” she noted.
BY CECILIA LAGBA AND GRACE SEY-ANSAH