8 November 2012

Ghana: NMC Challenges Media to Disseminate Truthful Information

The National Media Commission (NMC), on Tuesday reiterated calls on journalists to engender public debate and disseminate truthful and unbiased information to enrich Election 2012.

"Journalist should help educate the electorate, highlight activities of political parties and candidates to the general public and in turn offer opportunity for the public to express their views on the candidates and their programmes.

"Journalists must balance coverage of political personalities and events with analysis of issues in the overall context of good governance," according to NMC guidelines made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

The NMC guidelines asked media practitioners to offer the electorate every opportunity to discuss and understand political campaign issues.

The document indicated that apart from providing information about presidential and parliamentary candidates, media practitioners should balance discussions on personalities with analysis of issues, and must offer a forum for the public to participate in public discussions.

The NMC document called on media practitioners to aim at promoting peace, and views that have the potential to promote violent conflict, especially political, social, cultural, racial, ethnic and religious, should be handled with great sensitivity.

According to the NMC, the Election 2012 guideline for political journalism was developed in response to demands from media practitioners and other stakeholders and it encompassed the broader spectrum of journalistic enterprise beyond reporting.

The Commission, therefore, asked media practitioners to arm themselves with good grounding in the history of Ghana, especially during election campaigns, to enable them to understand the alignments that inform political activities in the country, and also help them to identify and properly analyse issues at both national and local levels.

The document encouraged the media to endeavour to make the programmes and manifestos of political parties and their candidates intelligible to the electorate by subjecting them to objective analysis.

"It is also the responsibility of the media to help the electorate assess the candidates to make elections meaningful and this duty requires them to provide accurate information about the candidates and also reflect the views of the public to candidates", it said.

The NMC appealed to the media to offer free political broadcast for each registered political party and the terms and conditions of the broadcasts should be the same for all parties.

The Commission advised state owned media not to endorse a political party or candidate and with regards to private media, it advised that, endorsement of candidates or political parties should be balanced with the need to preserve the credibility and integrity of the media.

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