22 Mar 2012 Media Responsibility Project in Ghana supported by WACC
In order to refresh their minds and remind them of their core mandate ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections, the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP-Ghana), supported by the World Association of Christian Communications under its programme “Communication for Peace” has interacted with about journalists and media practitioners in Bolgatanga.
At a one-day seminar on the 2012 elections, the Programmes Officer of WANEP-Ghana, Ms. Melody Azinim, said as the elections approach amidst various security challenges, it is important adequate measures are put in place to minimise elections-related violence, before, during and after the elections. She said the network operates in seven regions – Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta, Western, Brong-Ahafo, and Ashanti – with a membership of 116 organisations. In every region, the network has a number of organisations that form a regional chapter.
Ms. Azinim appealed to the media to support the project by giving it the necessary publicity on all its activities.The media practitioners and the organisers had an interactive session, as the latter poured out all their experiences and lessons in election reporting, including challenges. Issues of attacks on journalists during elections, unprofessional practices and misconducts were raised by the participants.
Some of the participants were of the view that the political parties’ commentators and communicators do not talk to the issues that would bring about development, but rather inflame passions and acrimonies among their members.Derogatory statements should be avoided, especially during radio discussions, while panelists on radio discussions are also to be mindful of their comments to avoid inflaming passions among members.
They entreated WANEP-Ghana to impress on the National Media Commission, the security agencies and civil society to ensure that all the guiding principles, in the interest of the nation, are adhered to by all politicians.Some of the journalists suggested that the Ghana Journalists Association should also be mandated to ensure that before someone practices as a journalist, and like medical doctors, the person is assessed and given a license to practice.
Such licenses should be subject to periodic renewal, so that their conducts could be monitored, and those who are found wanting, would have their licenses withdrawn. Suggested issues include football matches among political parties, quiz competitions on various political parties’ manifestoes to examine how much political parties’members know about the manifestoes of others, and clean up exercises by all political parties.
A data analyst at WANEP-Ghana, Mr. Albert Yelyang, advised journalists to study the historical backgrounds of every area when reporting on elections. Thus, they would avoid reportage that could lead to raising tensions among people.A 10-member Inter-Party Youth Dialogue Committee, co-chaired by Mr. Edward Adeti and Mr. Samuel Akologu, was inaugurated to implement programmes and activities of a dubbed the Youth In Election Project.
The Media Responsibility Project (MEREP) seeks to work with the media, namely journalists, editors, presenters and CEOs in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions of Ghana in order to promote peace in the run up to the 2012 elections.