General News of Sunday, 6 December 2015
The Northern Regional chapter of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has suggested that media houses especially radio stations should blacklist politicians who use their platforms to foment trouble or engage in hate speech.
Mr Caesar Abagali, Northern Regional Chairman of GJA, who gave the advice in Tamale during a training workshop for the media and youth advocates, said if such politicians were not identified and blacklisted from live radio broadcasts, their utterances could plunge the nation into chaos.
The workshop, organized by Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF), a non-governmental organization, in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), was funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives and was aimed at soliciting media support to intensify education for first time voters in the 2016 elections to maintain peace and unity.
Mr Abagali, who spoke on the topic: “Credible media reportage and education of first-time voters and persons with disabilities before, during and after the elections”, said the media wielded a double edged sword, which must be used wisely for the benefit of all.
He said some of the media houses were glorifying politicians who engaged in hate speech, and this must stop saying, “We should not allow our politicians to use our media houses to divide the nation.
Mr Abagali said “Ghana is a country whose people respect age and we as media practitioners must blacklist politicians who want to use the media to divide nation”.
He said the country was bigger than any media institution and politician adding that, “A politician who thinks about personal gain other than seeking the interest of the nation is not worth voting for and a media organization that allows such a politician to use its medium to foment trouble must be named and shamed”.
He said some of the media practitioners in the country had either ignored the GJA code of ethics or they deliberately engaged in reportage skewed to favour their pay masters, a situation, which was not healthy for nation building.
He condemned journalists, who combined the practice of journalism and open politics saying, “Such journalists cannot practice journalism professionally” and commended the Ashanti Regional chapter of the GJA for stripping its Chairman of his position, after he stood for elections and refused to resign.
Alhaji Abdul Razak Saani, Northern Regional Director of NCCE, said it is important for the media to continue performing its role as the fourth estate of the realm to hold people in power accountable.
He said it was not the duty of the media to help political parties to win power but what the media needed was to bring the attention of voters to what the candidates and their political parties stood for so that they could make informed choices.
Mr Douglas Quartey, Programmes Manager of YBF, expressed concern about the formation of political vigilante groups in the country, saying this had the tendency of sparking trouble if not checked.
He said YBF would continue to work with the media and youth advocates to ensure that the 2016 elections remained peaceful.