EC Urges Media To Use Appropriate Election Language

Madam Laurentia Kpatakpa, Volta Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC) on Friday urged the media to be wary about the use of language in the December Polls. She said words such as fraud and rigging must be used with great circumspection because of their sensitive meanings. Madam Kpatakpka said this at a two-day capacity-building workshop on the theme, “Upgrading GNA’s human capital for in-depth coverage of election 2012 and beyond” currently underway in Ho. It was organized by the GNA with support from STAR-Ghana, a multi-donor funding mechanism. Madam Kpatakpka said an overview of the 2008 elections showed that most media houses were indiscriminate in the use of election language and the generalization of issues, and said such practices would not be healthy for the December Polls. She urged the media to be conversant with electoral processes, terms and their meanings and desist from reporting perceptions. Madam Kpatakpa said the EC expected the media to be accurate, fair, balanced and impartial to help enhance the credibility of the elections. Mr Henry Ford Kamel, Volta Regional Minister said the media has a big responsibility in ensuring the credibility of the Polls and urged them to set the stage for people to behave well. “Anytime the media act responsibly the people also behave responsibly, but each time the media engages in irresponsible conduct the people also behave irresponsibly.” Mr Kamel said the nation was counting on the media for a peaceful environment and peaceful elections and advised practitioners to use their professional skills to sieve comments by politicians which were not good for public consumption. Mr Mawusi Afele, Acting General Manager of the Ghana News Agency said the role of the Agency was particularly crucial because it is state owned, have huge reach within and outside the country and is a “medium that reaches across the globe in seconds 24/7.” He said with a liberalized media landscape, a very vibrant media scene and the growing importance of social media, the motto of the Agency, namely “speed and accuracy” must reflect in every report that the Agency files on the forthcoming elections. Mr Afele said the mandate of the Agency to produce truthful unbiased news could not be overemphasized and called on staff of the Agency to “put up their guard” for the December Polls. Mr Charles Mawusi, Technical Advisor, Media and Communication of STAR-Ghana stated the commitment of his outfit to empower civil society to have greater voice on how the country’s resources were being managed. He said the decision to support GNA was because of the Agency’s credibility, and the conviction of STAR-Ghana that the Agency was a worthy strategic partner. STAR-Ghana is a multi- donor pooled funding mechanism (Funded by DFID, DANIDA, EU and USAID) to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery, with the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Ghana’s government, traditional authorities and the private sector.