Media owners, Chief Executive Officers and Editors of media houses in Accra on Tuesday brainstormed on how to regulate political advertising in the nation’s media on election day to help create a congenial atmosphere for the successful conduct of a peaceful general election in December.
The forum organized by the National Media Commission (NMC) in collaboration with the British High Commission, sought to draw the attention of editors and media owners to the technicalities and rules governing political advertising, and the handling of political communication from the various political parties in a manner that would not compromise the nation’s peace and stability.
Speaking at the forum on the theme: “Handling Election Day Political Advertising,” Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere, NMC Chairman said the Commission was collaborating with the National Communications Authority (NCA) to ensure that space allotted to broadcasting stations were used for the purpose for which they were intended instead of using them to run down the nation.
He said the successful conduct of the December 2012 elections was crucial because Ghana had always been a pace-setter on the African continent and must therefore set examples in her democratic development that would be worthy of emulation by the rest of the continent.
Mr Blay-Amihere said it was particularly important that media practitioners discussed and agreed on common bench-marks as to the best practices in political advertising that would help both the state-owned and the private media in the discharge of their duties on election day.
He said it was the intention of the NMC, with support from the European Union, to launch an exercise to monitor the performance of the media before and during the forthcoming general election.
In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Peter Jones, British High Commissioner said Ghana through the work of the NMC had a good record of promoting freedom of the media, a role that also called for a great responsibility.
“Since political leaders rely of the media to send their messages, the media are an important tool which needs to be empowered by the NMC to deliver on their mandate”, he said, adding that responsibility and the larger public good should be the focus of the media at all times.
He said the partnership between the High Commission and the NMC was meant to support the nation’s media regulator in its commitment to ensure stability and promote Ghana’s vibrant democracy.
In the course of deliberations, participants emphasised the need for the NMC to craft a clear set of rules guiding political advertising in the media; establish an effective monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance; and to stipulate the sanctions that would be applied in the event of any breach of those rules