General News of Wednesday, 23 December 2015
The National Peace Council is offering to engage the Electoral Commission on early voting right for journalists in the 2016 general elections.
The move is aimed at giving media personnel opportunity to cast their ballot ahead of official polls day when they will be pre-occupied by elections coverage.
Until 2012, journalists were given the opportunity to vote alongside security personnel and other E.C. officials who perform special duties on election day.
Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Peace Council, Prof. Seth Opuni Asiamah, says existing legislation could disenfranchise many journalists.
“If I am a journalist and because of the nature of my job I cannot vote it is not right…we should remember the work of journalists on elections day is very important in a democratic country,” he said.
He believes the Electoral Commission may have tangible reasons for taking away such privileges, it will be prudent to be considered gain due to the role of journalists in democracy.
Prof. Opuni Asiamah says the media should see it as a responsibility to ensure a peaceful election in 2016 by remaining neutral in election reportage.
“The media should exhibit professionalism in their operations ahead of the election…also only trained people should be allowed be on air to report or speak about elections,” he added.
He spoke to Luv News at a media interaction ahead of upcoming general elections in Kumasi.
Participating journalists encouraged the Regional Peace Council to push for early voting rights to help them execute their task effectively on Election Day.
Some spoke about their ordeals in the previous elections.
“I could not vote in 2012 since I had to report from Bekwai, a place far from my voting centre in the Central Region,” she said.