New EC communication plan'll address mistrust – Lecturer

General News of Saturday, 27 August 2016



Etse SikankuDr Etse Sikanku, Lecturer, School of Information & Communications Studies, UG

Given that the lack of information in every organisation breeds mistrust within that same it, it was important for the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana to have introduced its communication plan in order to ensure easy access to information from the election management body, Dr Etse Sikanku, a lecturer at the School of Information and Communications Studies at the University of Ghana, has said.

The Chair of the EC, Charlotte Osei, on Friday, 26 August, launched the commission’s five-year communication strategy, as part of efforts to improve access to information from the EC.

Speaking in relation to the strategic plan in an interview with Emefa Apawu on Class FM’s 505 news on the same day it was launched, Dr Sikanku said: “One of the functions that the Electoral Commission plays, apart from running elections and referendums, is to raise public awareness on the rules and principles that govern the conduct of elections. If elections remain the centrepiece around which the democratic experiment revolves, you will expect that the citizen, in order to be able participants of the democratic sphere, would have the information that they need in order to be informed participants of the electoral process.

“One of the things that generate mistrust in any organisation, particularly the Electoral Commission, which is still central is the issue of lack of information. Misrepresentation or misinformation then creates the gap for people to speculate and for perception to be muddled up. If this has been realised and they (EC) have taken the decision to consciously and assertively improve their commination apparatus or their communication system, it can only help to go in filling the gap of mistrust.

“Trust is a very important factor in any democracy. The trust that people have in the electoral system is crucial. [We see] how people react to the outcome of that election and if there is mistrust in the body that is supposed to be the arbiter of this particular process, that is actually the fulcrum that leads to activities that we see – stealing of the ballots, challenging the electoral results, or taking things into their own hands – which we all know could even have more dangerous repercussions. So the issue of information and communication is so vital to averting some of these consequence so hopefully any bit of efforts should address some of these issues.”

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