Ghana News Agency (Kumasi) – Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), has cautioned Ghanaian journalists to resist the temptation of being turned into tools that help spead political propaganda.
“Our duty is to promote the public interest,” he said. He stressed that the media must not allow parochial interests to cloud their sense of judgement as they report on political campaigning in the lead-up to the general election in December.
“We must work to uphold multiparty democracy by reporting fairly and objectively while giving all the contesting parties an equal platform to put across their messages,” the eminent journalist said.
Boadu-Ayeboafoh, who was addressing journalists at the Media Convention 2020 in Kumasi, urged journalists to be fair-minded and adhere strictly to professional ethics.
The event was sponsored by the US Embassy and organised by the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA). It brought together selected media establishments drawn from the Ahafo, Ashanti and Bono Regions.
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Other participants included the security agencies, traditional authorities, officials of the Electoral Commission and representatives of political parties.
The theme for the event was “The 2020 Election: Role of the Media in Promoting Civility and Discernment in the Political Discourse”. The theme served as a platform for dialogue between the stakeholders on matters relating to this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
Topics discussed included the GJA guidelines on election coverage and the NMC’s various guidelines, the EC’s concerns and expectations of media coverage for Election 2020, and social media as a tool for information flow.
Boadu-Ayeboafoh pointed out that the media’s role is to serve as a voice and guide to the electorate – helping to keep voters informed about the manifestoes of the various political parties so that they can make informed decisions.
He reminded journalists of the need always to present truthful and unbiased information, and also to hold duty-bearers accountable for their work and promises to the people.
“It is our responsibility to criticise duty-bearers constructively and objectively to deepen the democratic dispensation,” the NMC chairman said.
Linda Asante-Agyei, vice-president of the GJA, cited the crucial role the media had played in strengthening democracy and the rule of law under the Fourth Republican constitution.
This year’s polls, she said, present another challenge to the media to be alive to their responsibilities, helping to reduce needless tension while ensuring stability and sustainable development.
The vice-president said the GJA, under its Media Convention project, will continue to engage stakeholders in dialogue as it seeks to create a harmonious environment before, during and after the 2020 general election.
Nana Owusu Nyanin, chief of Kwamo in the Ashanti Region, advised stakeholders to carry out their responsibilities in a more professional manner to engender peace and unity in Ghana.
Stephen Asante and Regina Benneh