Mrs. Linda Ofori-Kwafo, the Executive-Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local chapter of Transparency International, has advised journalists to be fair and objective in their reportage regarding the December General Election.
Journalists were tasked to demonstrate neutrality, adhere to ethics of the journalistic profession, devoid of political biases and pursuance of personal interests, but work to help strengthen the country’s democratic dispensation.
Journalists, according to the GII Executive Director, should strive to create a level-playing field for all the contesting political parties.
Article 55 (11) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides that the state makes the effort to ensure that all political parties have equal access to state media to present their plans and programmes to the populace.
Mrs. Ofori-Kwafo, addressing the opening session of a training workshop in Accra, which was organized by the GII for 32 journalists across the country, stressed the need for journalists to be apolitical in the discharge of their duties.
The programme was sponsored by Global Affairs Canada, the department of the Government of Canada that manages the country’s diplomatic and consular relations, and also leads Canada’s international development and humanitarian assistance.
The two-day workshop seeks to enhance the skills of the participants to facilitate the GII’s national monitoring exercise on ‘Abuse of Incumbency and Electoral Corruption before and during the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections’.
The exercise would collate and document observed incidences of electoral corruption and incumbency abuse.
Mrs. Ofori-Kwafo indicated that the GII based on the documented report, would be making recommendations to key stakeholders such as the Electoral Commission (EC), political parties as well as other institutions charged with the responsibility of fighting corruption in Ghana.
Findings from the monitoring exercise, she said, would also be published as a means of naming and shaming perpetrators of electoral corruption.
Since the 2012 national elections, civil society organizations (CSOs) have monitored national elections with the aim of promoting a more level political playing field by reducing incumbency abuse and electoral corruption in Ghana’s electoral processes.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Executive-Director, Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult), asked journalists to always cross-check their facts before publishing any news item in relation to this year’s elections.
He cautioned them to be wary of false reportage since that could create unnecessary tension before and during the polls.
The CDA Consult Executive-Director observed that the environment for political campaigns had changed as political parties have adopted more sophisticated approaches in their campaign activities.
Mr. Ameyibor said in view of this, the onus lied on the media as information gatekeepers to do thorough research in relation to news items they are presented with, to enhance the success of the 2020 elections.
Topics lined-up for the programme included the ‘General Overview of Ghana’s Election and Impact’, ‘Overview of Monitoring Abuse of Incumbency and Electoral Corruption’, and ‘Legal Framework for Elections and Abuse of Incumbency’.
Others are ‘Impact of Corruption on Elections’, ‘Elections and Conflict of Interest’, ‘Elections and the Media’, as well as ‘Roles and Responsibilities of Monitors’ and ‘Code of Ethics for Monitors’.