THE MEDIA Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has described as ‘monumental’ the role of Ghanaian journalists in ensuring that the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections were issues-based and devoid of insults and hate-speeches.
According to MFWA, the successful outcome of the December 7, 2016 polls was largely due to the high level of professionalism displayed by most media houses across the country, especially operators of radio stations.
The National Media Commission (NMC) and the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) expressed a similar view about the contribution of the media to the peaceful outcome of the elections which saw the then flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, emerging the winner of the presidential poll.
Executive Director of MFWA, Sulemana Braimah, in a statement at a post-elections media forum and awards organized by the association on Tuesday in Accra under the theme, ‘The Media and the 2016 Elections: Challenges, Lessons and Prospects for the Future,’ explained, “The media coverage of the December 7 polls was quite an improvement over what we experienced in previous elections.”
The forum brought together stakeholders, including the Electoral Commission, the French Embassy and the Ghana Police Service, to deliberate on how the media covered the elections, the challenges, lessons learnt and recommendations on how the media could do better in deepening Ghana’s democracy
A number of radio stations – Citi Fm, Joy Fm, Starr Fm, Radio Justice, Classic FM – among others, were awarded on the occasion for their roles in making the elections violence-free.
In the opinion of Mr Braimah, the media played an effective role in ensuring that the campaigns were issues-based and devoid of hate-speeches.
The MFWA, he said, during the elections, monitored a total of 70 radio stations nationwide to ensure that news presenters and radio programmes hosts did not incite violence nor allow politicians to use hate-speeches on their platforms.
Before the elections, there were fears about possible electoral violence across the country, and one group of professionals many believed could incite violence in the course of discharging their duties were journalists.
But the Chairman of the National Media Commission, Kwesi Gyan-Apenteng, who chaired the forum, said, “The media ought to take the credit for how things turned out. I think we deserve applause for ourselves as the media.”
BY Melvin Tarlue