Politics of Friday, 11 December 2015
The Ashanti Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr Paul Boateng, has cautioned the media, especially radio stations not to be in the haste to declare election results.
He said calling elections results ahead of the statutory declaration by the mandated body, the EC, could jeopardise the electoral process and lead to destabilisation of the country.
Mr Boateng was speaking during a one-day media advocacy workshop in Kumasi organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) with support from the European Union (EU).
It was aimed at sharpening the skills of media practitioners in electoral reporting.
Mr Boateng said though it was the responsibility of the media to provide accurate and transparent information to the populace, “it is the sole responsibility of the EC to declare winners.”
He explained that journalism thrived on integrity and credibility, hence the need for journalists not to rush just to be first to break the news but be the first to come out with the most accurate representation of what had occurred.
However, he noted that ensuring a free and fair electioneering process was not only the EC’s obligation but urged all stakeholders to play their required role in consonance with laid down rules and regulations.
The Executive Director of the Media Foundation of West Africa, Mr Sulemana Braimah, who spoke on the theme, “Strengthening Civic Education through Media Advocacy”, rebuked media houses that do not use their network for constructive discussions.
He wondered why they use such great opportunity for people to hurl insults on others, settle personal scores and at times veer into ethnocentrism.
Mr Braimah charged practitioners in the inky fraternity to allocate more air time and editorial space to educate the public on their basic obligations and rights, as well as the true picture of happenings in the country to help them make informed interpretations.
According to him, many of such media platform have been turned into “megaphone to propagate partisan political agenda,” instead of talking about bread and butter issues.
The Deputy Chairman of the NCCE, Mr Samuel Asare Akuamoah, said his directorate was always ready to liaise with the media in their quest to sensitise the people, adding that it was a shared responsibility.
He, however, debunked the notion being perpetuated that the NCCE was only heard of during elections, and that the institution was working tirelessly and would continue to fulfil its constitutional mandate for the benefit of residents in the country.