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EC Stops Media Accreditation Fees   
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Jean Mensa
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The Electoral Commission (EC) will scrap the payment of fees by the media to cover elections, the Chairperson for the organisation – Mrs. Jean Adukwei Mensa – announced yesterday.

The commission is considering factoring the cost of accreditation into its budget, she told executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) when they called on her in her office in Accra.

She said the cost associated with granting more journalists accreditation was highly insignificant as compared to the cost of having a few journalists on the field – a situation which she said might create room for misinformation during elections.

“We should not be charging for accreditation so you would have more reporters across the country” she stressed.

The strange arrangement whereby journalists were required to make payment before receiving accreditation was introduced by the sacked EC boss Charlotte Osei.

That unpopular decision sparked a heated debate in the run-up to the 2016 general elections and did not receive any attention until now.

Her pledged followed Affail Monney’s appeal for the factoring of the cost of processing accreditation into its budget for the upcoming elections.

The courtesy call was intended to fashion ways for effective collaboration in the run-up to the upcoming metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) referendum, as well as the general elections which are billed to be held this year and 2020 respectively.

Discussions also focused on building capacity of journalists for election coverage, inviting the EC boss to some activities of the GJA and also to officially congratulate the EC boss on her assumption of office.

Ms Mensa, who was the former Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), also emphasised the need to start preparations early enough  to allow for proper planning and holding of transparent and credible elections.

She spoke about the readiness of the EC to prepare joint proposals with the GJA towards the seeking of funding to build capacity.

She also called for circumspection and good reportage on the part of journalists and the media at large which, according to her, should hinge on a code of conduct.

“Everybody likes news but we need to do away with the sensationalism and delve deep for the truth. Sometimes you find a whole commissioner being accused of rigging elections without evidence”, she pointed out.

Mr Monney indicated that the role of the media in covering election was important as far as maintaining the peace and stability of the country was concerned.

That, he indicated, would require journalists to be equipped with the requisite knowledge and tools in election coverage so as not fall to the temptation of favouring a certain party or candidate over others.

“We know that the free and fairness of elections are not judged by what happens say on election day but that all the process should be transparent and the people should own the process,” he said.
Source: Daily Guide

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