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Stop Discrediting Us: EC Boss Tells Media   
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The media keeps criticising the Electoral Commission (EC) yet has failed to hold politicians accountable, even though they have not presented their manifestos to address issues concerning their policies, EC Chair Mrs Charlotte Osei has indicated.

“It is 115 days or 145 days to elections, whatever way parliament decides. We are yet to see an analysis of the manifestos of the political parties and the strength and weaknesses of their proposals. You (the media) should be asking how they intend to solve our myriad of problems, how they propose to govern this country, yet everyday not a single manifesto. Politics takes probably 90 per cent of our media reportage, sports take another 5 per cent, then education, infrastructure, healthcare and all get to share the remaining 5 per cent,” she noted.

The EC Chair, who was not enthused about what she described as the constant negative reportage about the commission, challenged the media to propose solutions to help the commission address the gaps they kept highlighting.

She made these assertions on Thursday July 14 in Accra at a media and stakeholders workshop under the theme: ‘Towards Peaceful Elections: Reporting on Elections and Security in 2016’.

According to her, the media was not focusing on issues relevant to the election but were rather interested in trivialities fuelled by partisan motives.

“It is not important to us that politicians talk everyday but have no manifestos; we haven’t shown any concern. What is important to us seems to be the supposed screensaver on the phone of the chair of the EC as seen by the overactive imagination of the political party activists. And, so, we continue as a society and as members of the media to fail in holding our political players to higher standards,” she lamented.

She also expressed concern over the media’s inability to examine and interrogate rules, modalities, and regulations set by the EC for the processes leading to the elections.

According to her, the world was changing, technology was evolving globally, and, therefore, the 2016 election would be different from what happened in 2012 and 2008.

She added that the commission had come out with 27 reforms to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections, including manual verification and sanctions for electoral officers who violate or abuse electoral laws. She said she would be glad if the media gave such issues some priority to educate the public.

“...As a neutral party within all these actors within this field of elections, we would have wished that the media would be examining the policies and rules of the game as set by the EC in these elections and commenting on whether these rules ensure fair play or otherwise. Disappointingly, we have not seen this so far,” she stressed.

She underscored: “There has been no publication in the media seriously examining the more than 20 reforms which the Electoral Commission is implementing in this year’s election cycle and their consequences on the elections. We have not seen a single report on how the results can actually be compromised or manipulated from an operational perspective, which will now require that the media will call on the EC to resolve those operational gaps that they have identified.

“Yet, every day, we are inundated with spurious reports in the media of how the EC and the chair of the EC as a person are rigging the election; and these comments are reported with extreme speed and glee and it's just amazing to us.”
Source: Classfmonline

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