Friday, November 28, 2008

Journalists schooled on election coverage

A day's workshop to remind the media of its responsibility in ensuring free, fair, credible and peaceful elections was held in Accra with a call on journalists to do more in-depth research into their news reports.
     The workshop organized by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) with financial support from the Canadian High Commission brought together reporters from the various media houses in Accra.
     Mr Ransford Tetteh, President of the GJA, said the workshop although late, would provide the opportunity to evaluate media coverage and strengthen the commitment of the media to promoting free and fair election through accurate, balanced and credible reportage.
     He said indications were that despite challenges the Ghanaian media remained determined to improve on their coverage of elections, which were prime and vital instruments for the establishment of democracy.
     The GJA president said since the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution the country had come a long way in holding elections as part of the process of deepening multi-party democracy, and the Ghanaian media had undoubtedly played a very critical role in the attainment of this political culture.
     "We are confident that the Ghanaian media will again rise to the occasion by exhibiting high professional standards, integrity and media accountability in the coverage of the December 7 polls and raise public confidence in them to promote good governance and social cohesion," he said.
     Mr Tetteh announced that the Ghana International Press Centre with the permission from the Electoral Commission had entered into a venture with Sedeli & Mobile Content Enterprises to disseminate election results by SMS message to mobile phone users.
     The centre, he said, would also serve as a media resource centre and election relay and dissemination point.
     Outlining other activities that would take place at the centre on Election Day, Mr. Tetteh mentioned mounting of a giant public scoreboard, a live band to liven up journalists and the public who would be awaiting results at the centre.
     Mr. Micheal Gort, Charge d'Affaires of Canadian High Commission, said it was the hope of Canada that Ghana with its tremendous democratic gains previously democracy would continue to mature in Ghana and that the upcoming election would be free, fair and peaceful.
     "The world is watching Ghana. Not only are these elections important for the country, but they are for Africa as a whole. After the failure of elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe, the world is asking if there is a future for democracy in Africa. Ghana has the potential to provide an answer: that free and fair elections are still possible and that violence and power-sharing arrangements are the exception, rather than the norm," he said.
     "An election that goes well can further strengthen a maturing democracy but an election that goes badly can easily destroy the democratic gains that have taken so many years and decades to make," he added.
     He announced that Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency was also supporting other election-related activities.
     Mr Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh, General Manager of Graphic Communications Group Limited, stressed the need for the media to give equal coverage to all political parties irrespective of their popularity or size.

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