Mr Affail Monney, the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has advised Journalists and media practitioners not to allow their voting pattern to influence their work in covering the Election 2020.
“Our interest as Journalists must not be who wins the general election, but must ensure that the elections are conducted peacefully and results are acceptable to all parties” he said.
The media, Mr Monney noted could cover the elections responsibly if practitioners tilted their stories, shape programmes and design discussions devoid of political biases and non-violence.
Mr Monney gave the advice when speaking at the opening session of day’s training on media action for conflict sensitive reporting and against hate speech held at Aburi in the Eastern region.
The training is in line with a five-month Election 2020 project being implemented by the GJA with support from Star Ghana Foundation and its partners and attended by Journalists, social media influencers and political party commentators.
Mr Monney reminded the media they had huge responsibility to avoid high-voltage tensions that characterised elections, saying it was imperative for media practitioners to avoid language and indecent expressions that could trigger violence and plunged the country into chaos.
“Once violence starts, the end results can be incalculable. So the media must ensure that whatever enters the public space is ethically, politically and Journalistic wholesome so that offensive mad toxic materials were not consumed by the populace”, he said.
“Hellish circumstances which have happened in other countries should serve as a fountain of lessons and a guide to all of us in the course of our constitution obligation of covering the 2020 elections in particular” Mr Monney added.
Mr Prince Hari Crystal, Board Member of the National Media Commission noted use of indecent language in the political space threatened democracy, and entreated the media to guard against that in order not to wrongly inflame people’s passion and trigger political violence.
“The media must not re-fuel hate speech because it spreads incite, intolerance, hostilities and increase polarization that breaks down social cohesion”, he explained.
Mr Kojo Impraim, Deputy Director, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation at the National Peace Council noted actions and inactions of the media could easily make or unmake the nation, and advised Journalists to adhere to high ethical standards.
Journalists must not contribute to re-fueling the passions of political parties, but ensure they were always circumspect reporting events relating to Election 2020, he added.