The National Media Commission (NMC) has cautioned all media practitioners to strictly adhere to the principles of fairness, balanced and accurate dissemination of information to the electorate on election activities.
The Commission has also called on the media to provide equal opportunities to all political parties as they seek to spread their messages in the run-up to this year’s general election.
According to the NMC, the guidelines of election reporting and ethics of journalism require all media houses to provide political parties with fair access, irrespective of the ownership of the media house.
Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, Chairman of the NMC, gave the admonition at a workshop organized for media practitioners in the Western Region. It was under the theme, “Towards Free, Fair and Undisputed Elections: The Role of the Media.”
The workshop was organized by the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) in collaboration with the United States Embassy and was aimed at preparing journalists to observe international best practices in election reporting.
Mr Gyan-Apenteng noted that this year’s elections are crucial to the country’s democratic credentials because there are a lot of issues at stake and so the media must safeguard the peace and stability of the country by being fair to all parties.
He appealed to journalists to exercise circumspection when reporting on issues such as ethnicity, religion, attendance at political party rallies, Persons with Disability and children.
Mr Christian Owusu-Parry, Principal Public Relations Officer of the Electoral Commission (EC), indicated that the Commission had successfully organised six national and five district assembly elections.
In view of this, he said, the lessons and challenges the Commission encountered had informed its decision to adopt many electoral reforms to improve the participation and transparency of the electoral process.
He revealed that the Commission had accepted many recommendations proposed by the Reforms Committee constituted by it following the 2012 election petition and the Supreme Court ruling on the matter.
He added the Constitutional Instrument (CI) 75 that governed the conduct of national elections had undergone some amendments due to the challenges encountered during its implementation in the 2012 elections and that the changes would enhance this year’s elections.
He assured Ghanaians that the recommendations would be implemented to make the electoral process more transparent.
Affail Monney, GJA President, noted that the attainment of credible results is a shared responsibility and called on every Ghanaian, including journalists, to play their part in ensuring the success of this year’s polls.
Sara Veldhuizen Stealy, Press Attaché at the US Embassy in Accra, indicated that Ghana has a high reputation for organising peaceful elections and tasked the media and all Ghanaians to maintain that status in this year’s elections.
“The electorate regard any information emanating from the media as genuine, therefore, media practitioners must ensure due diligence in disseminating information to the masses,” she charged.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi