Ghana: Journalists Reminded of Crucial Role in Election 2020

Kumasi — The National Media Commission (NMC) has urged journalists not to forget the crucial role they play to ensure free and fair general election, on December 7.

According to the NMC, in reporting on elections, journalists would be expected to serve as the guardian and voice of the people.

Speaking at a Media Convention in Kumasi, the NMC's Chairman, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo reminded journalists of the NMC's guidelines for political reporting which demanded that media practitioners published truthful, unbiased information.

He said the journalist had the obligation to promote good faith toward political parties, presidential and parliamentary candidates and electoral process and help strengthen democracy.

Mr Boadu-Ayeboafo asked journalists to inform voters about competing parties, candidates, campaign issues and arrangements involving electoral processes.

He stressed that the media should provide the public with information that would enable the electorate to make intelligent decisions during the elections.

Mr Boadu-Ayeboafo asked journalists not be subordinated and consider themselves as shadows of others.

He said the "moment they do that, they lose their essence, they must be committed and objective by ensuring what they publish is factual, accurate and verifiable toward credibility which must be treasured".

Mr Boadu-Ayeboafo noted that of all the primary groupings, "it is only the media that is mandated by the constitution to hold government accountable to the people. By failing to do that means we will be reneging on our responsibilities and obligations".

He said "when we criticise the government, it is our responsibility and obligation imposed on us, but the only caveat is to do so with objectivity and not for partisanship".

Mr Boadu-Ayeboafo noted that as gatekeepers, journalists could not be passive, but should maintain credibility through meticulous attention and accuracy.

He urged journalists to be independent and take full responsibility for whatever they reported on or published.

Mr Boadu-Ayeboafo asked journalists not to allow personal interest to cloud their professional judgment, and reminded them of the GJA code of ethics that enjoins members to respect among others the right of people to information and respect for privacy and human dignity.

Nana Owusu Nyanin, chief of Kwamo, called on journalists to promote peace and national development.

He also asked traditional rulers to ensure peace during the elections, saying "Ghana is a beautiful country and we have a collective responsibility to preserve the beauty of our country".

Nana Owusu Nyanin commended the GJA and US Embassy for organising the event to enable journalists to provide excellent reportage during the election.

Ashanti Regional Director of the EC, Emmanuel Bano-Bio, called on journalists to be unbiased, neutral and truthful in the discharge of their role.

Vice President of the GJA, Mrs Linda Asante Agyei, cautioned journalist against reckless reportage as well and urged politicians to refrain from careless statements.

The 'Media Convention 2020', is a United States Embassy sponsored project, being executed by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA),

Under the theme, "The 2020 election: Role of the media in promoting civility and discernment in the political discourse".

The event brought together representatives of political parties, security agencies, Electoral Commission and media institutions, to discuss media coverage of Election 2020.

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