Mr. Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), has cautioned the Ghanaian media to avoid the temptation of being turned into political propaganda tools particularly during electioneering periods.
“Our duty is to promote the public interest,” he cautioned, stressing that the media must not allow their parochial interests to cloud their sense of judgment as they report on political activities ahead of the December General Election.
“We must work to uphold multi-party democracy by reporting fairly and objectively while giving all the contesting parties an equal platform to put across their messages,” the eminent journalist said.
Mr. Boadu-Ayeboafoh, who was addressing journalists at the ‘Media Convention 2020’ in Kumasi, advocated fair-mindedness and strict adherence to professional ethics.
The programme was sponsored by the US Embassy, and organized by the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA), bringing together selected media establishments drawn from the Ashanti, Bono, and Ahafo Regions.
Other participants included the security agencies, traditional authorities, officials of the Electoral Commission (EC), and representatives of political parties.
“The 2020 Election: Role of the Media in Promoting Civility and Discernment in the Political Discourse”, was chosen as the theme for the programme.
It served as a platform for dialogue by the stakeholders on issues relating to this year’s Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.
Topics discussed included ‘GJA Guidelines on Election Coverage and the various Guidelines of the NMC: Correlation and Synergies’, ‘Concerns and Expectations of the EC on Media Coverage of Election 2020’, as well as ‘Social Media as a Tool for Information Flow – Prospects and Challenges’.
Mr. Boadu-Ayeboafoh pointed out that the media’s role was to serve as a voice and guidance to the electorates – helping to keep them informed of the manifestoes of the various political parties to make informed decisions.
He reminded journalists of the need to always present truthful and unbiased information, and also hold duty-bearers accountable for their work and promises to the people.
“It is our responsibility to criticize duty-bearers constructively and objectively to deepen democratic dispensation,” the NMC Chairman emphasized.
Mrs. Linda Asante-Agyei, Vice-President of the GJA, cited the critical role the media had played in strengthening democracy and the rule of law under the Fourth Republican Constitution.
This year’s polls, she said, presented another challenge to the media to be alive to their responsibilities – helping to reduce needless tension to ensure stability and sustainable development.
The GJA Vice-President said the Association under the ‘Media Convention’ project, would continue to engage stakeholders for dialogue as it sought to create a harmonious environment before, during, and after the December 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 the country.