Politics Wed, 12 Nov 2008

Electoral Commission schools media personnel

Fiapre (B/A), Nov. 12, GNA - Nana Amba Eyiaba of the Electoral Commission, in charge of Brong Ahafo, has called on the media not to rush in declaring any results of the forth-coming elections. Declaring false results in could create confusion and trigger violence among the people, she said.

Nana Eyiaba made the call at a one-day workshop at Fiapre near Sunyani organized by the Commission aimed at developing the capacity of the media in election reportage.

The workshop, attended by 25 media personnel drawn from both the print and electronic media in the region, was aimed at equipping the participants to report more accurately about the electoral process. It was also to equip them to be fair-minded in their coverage of candidates and political parties and be pro-active in bringing the electorate useful and timely information to enable them to make informed decisions.

Nana Eyiaba, who is the Krontihemaa of the Oguaa traditional area, urged journalists to seek clarification of results from the nearest EC district office before either publishing or broadcasting.

"You should get the authentic results from the nearest EC office before announcing it to the public to avoid any confusion and destroy the electoral process", she said.

The EC member noted that the media plays a very critical role in helping to make the electioneering process successful, free and fair. She reiterated that there was transparency in the election process and that no member of the EC was interested in changing the procedure at any of the centres to favour a particular candidate. Nana Eyiaba urged the participants to be circumspect in their reportage and to help build public confidence in the EC so that the results would be accepted in good faith.

She appealed to the media not to rely on rumours circulated by sections of the public, but to seek for authentic information from the EC office, so they could come out with balanced and accurate stories. The EC member stressed that only journalists with the EC's accreditation would be permitted to report at the polling stations and urged media houses that would deploy personnel at the various centres to apply for the accreditation.

Journalists who would be at the centres should not try to interfere in the election system but rather report any thing unusual to the security personnel present for action to be taken, she said. Mr Samuel Ntow, second in command of the research and monitoring department at the Commission's headquarters said, the Commission would also run workshops for security personnel, the candidates and their agents on the electoral process.

Mr Charles Koomson, chairman of the Brong Ahafo branch of the Ghana Journalists Association urged media houses to obtain accreditation from the Commission for their personnel, who would be deployed at the various polling centres.

He expressed appreciation to the Commission for the workshop and pledged that media personnel in the region would give of their best to ensure successful, fair and free elections on December 7.
Source: GNA