With two more weeks to go to the polls, the country’s media has been tasked to prevent politically inflammatory remarks, that could provoke national anarchy.
“The media can help curb political violence by refusing to invite people who use media platforms to incite and provoke conflict,” Dr. Kojo Pumpuni Asante, Director for Advocacy and Policy Engagement, Ghana Center for Democratic Development(CDD), said this in Accra on Monday.
Dr Asante stated at the launch of the National Media Commission’s (NMC) and CDD-Ghana’s collaborative activity theme: “Abusive Language/Hate Speech Monitoring”.
He said while many key stakeholders like the Electoral Commission (EC), Election Security Task Force, National Peace Council, among others, were putting their final preparations in place ahead of the elections the media constituted a critical stakeholder group whose contribution towards ensuring a peaceful election was indispensable.
He said the media constitutes a critical stakeholder group, whose contribution towards ensuring a peaceful election was indispensable.
Dr. Asante noted that for some time now, the Media Foundation for West Africa had been reporting a trend of rampant use of abusive language on Ghanaian media platforms.
He said typified by insulting and offensive comments, unsubstantiated allegations, provocative remarks, and some others, which was consistent with observations of the average Ghanaian, according to a recent pre-election survey by CDD-Ghana.
“It is for this reason that we at CDD-Ghana are delighted to be working with the NMC to embark on this monitoring,” he said, adding that as part of the effort, CDD-Ghana was also collaborating with the Media Foundation to increase the number of sampled media stations for monitoring of abusive and indecent language across Ghana.
Dr. Asante expressed the hope that the collaboration would immensely reduce politically inflammatory statements and conversations on the country’s airwaves, and ultimately help ensure political peace and stability.
Mr. Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, NMC Chairman, reminded journalists of the fact that while their role in the national discourse was very crucial, a journalist was supposed to carry out his duties, with absolute regard and respect for the laws of the state.
He said all over the world, self-censorship was most effective in ensuring professional and decent media work.
Mr. Ayeboafo said to earn the respect and trust of the respective publics, journalists had to strive towards being responsible, and objective.
The NMC Chairman urged media houses to come up with strong guidelines that would ensure good conduct on the part of their reporters.
The initiative seeks to enable the detection and halting of media discussion or other content, likely to spark political unrest in the country.