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The President of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Mr Akwasi Agyemang, has expressed concern over the state of anxiety prevailing in the country in the run-up to Election 2016.
He pointed out that although there had been the conduct of presidential and parliamentary elections since the country returned to constitutional rule in 1992, the current atmosphere was still not peaceful as the country prepared for the November 7, 2016 election.
Mr Agyemang, who was addressing a media encounter organised by Vodafone Ghana in Takoradi, noted that Ghana faced the challenge of consolidating its democracy with the seemingly charged political atmosphere and added that the country was also confronted with the challenge of making elections meaningful.
“There is a lot of anxiety before our election in November and this kind of atmosphere makes people not interested in investing their money in the economy. Although we have had elections previously without any marked problems, there is still a cause for alarm now,” he observed.
Turning to the media, Mr Agyemang said practitioners needed to exhibit a high sense of professionalism which actualises the right to freedom of expression, adding that “as media men and women we need to understand the election processes to be able to educate the people”.
He stressed that the media ought to know their journalistic rights and responsibilities and also be fair in the coverage of elections by not just reporting but putting matters in their proper perspective and context.
Mr Agyemang pointed out that practitioners should be able to differentiate between election reportage and election observance and explained that media people had no right to question election officials extensively during the polls since they were only there to report.
“Let us not compromise our watchdog roles as journalists and let us not also engage in sending out reports that will poison the atmosphere and in the end incur the displeasure and mistrust of the people,” he emphasised, adding that the media should desist from jumping the gun by calling the outcome of the poll and declaring winners of elections.
Mr Agyemang also expressed grave concern about social media, pointing out that it was becoming very dangerous and a recipe for confusion for the country’s future elections, since some people could manufacture election results.
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