The role of the media in free and fair
A GNA feature by Mildred Assifuah
Accra, April 16, Ghanadot/GNA - The political tension is
rising, the masses are expressing all kinds of dissenting
views all in the cause of democracy and freedom of speech.
But should the freedom of speech be abused or should people
be gagged anytime they try to use offensive language to
disrupt the peace and tranquillity of a particular
The mood during election year 2008 could be described as
tense, uncertain and full of activities - political, social
The President of the Republic must relinquish power to
either a member of his own party or of a different party -
this what the electorate would decide on come December 7,
The media oftentimes have been saddled with the
responsibility of setting the national agenda in a positive
and development oriented manner especially in this
electioneering moment when the searchlight is on those, who
want to entrusted with the destiny of the nation.
The role of the journalists in this sense become paramount
and this must be done in such a way to bring about the
requisite dividends - the peace and stability.
The pen has always been described as being mightier than the
sword and this moment is really the time for the media to
prove their mettle.
Perhaps the most important function the media should perform
in this era of the country's democratic advancement is to
provide voters with the information they need to make sound
decisions in the voting booth. If people don't know what
they're voting for, our democracy would be in serious
Voter ignorance must be extensively dealt with by educating
supporters of political parties to choose not because of
personality, tribe or creed but what the individual could
offer the nation. The situation where supporters are grossly
misinformed about what a candidate stands for should not
Issues concerning the candidature of a particular person
must be presented bare and left to the electorate to decide.
How can the electorate know the candidates and what they
stand for if the media concern is engrossed in controversy
and spinning instead of the concentrating on issues?
How do we have meaningful elections when people don't know
whom they're voting for?
The media are responsible for giving a balanced inspection
of all claims, careful fact checking, and reasoned analysis
that would help the masses to make informed decisions on the
choice of a candidate.
This notwithstanding, there is the need for effective
collaboration between the media and all state agencies
concerned with ensuring free and fair elections.
The Electoral Commission; National Media Commission and
National Commission for Civic Education need to step up
their educational campaign on the dos and don'ts of
The NCCE in particular needs to overhaul its educational
methodologies especially on democratic governance and the
role of the electorate to actively get them involved.
Circumspection should be the watchword in this season and
even before vigorous campaigning by the various political
parties start to avoid any squabble which had the tendency
to plunge the country into destruction. .
Now is the time for the media to stay focused and to educate
the masses about what a candidate stands for to enable them
make informed decision on December 7 2008.