08
Thu, Dec

Media must support peaceful elections

The role of the media in ensuring credible and free elections cannot be downplayed, neither can it be over-flogged.

This is because the media play a very key role in either inflaming passions or calming nerves prior to, during or after elections.Following or getting involved in elections, for most people, is very emotional as all aspirants contesting  parliamentary seats or the presidency throw in their all in order to emerge victorious. But as we all know, in any contest, it is not everyone that emerges the winner.It is, therefore, the media’s duty not to inflame passions by the way they carry out their mandate of educating, informing and entertaining the public.The media’s role is a sacred duty and that is why a code of ethics guides the performance of that duty so that  journalists do not get carried away or go overboard in the performance of that duty.In her encounter with the Editors Forum, Ghana last Thursday, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Charlotte Osei, stressed that the role of the media in ensuring free, fair, and transparent presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7 in Ghana was very crucial.She, therefore, admonished the media to play their role with the national interest at heart to ensure transparency and fairness, without which the nation cannot have a successful election.But even as the EC has identified the media as an indispensable partner in its work of organising successful and credible elections, we urge the media to be mindful of that partnership and sensitive position of trust that they hold in elections.Indeed, apart from the EC, everyone in the country and outside it is looking up to the media to once again support in organising a very credible, transparent and free election that would make the comity of nations proud of us, and we need not fail.We hold the key to put the entire election in disarray or make it as organised and successful as possible by carrying out the right messages in our reportage - messages devoid of acrimony, hate speech or falsehood.It is to guard against publishing or broadcasting false results that the media have, time without number, been asked to refrain from calling the results of elections. We must make use of the partnership that exists between the media and the EC to clarify all manner of information, especially the results of any polls with the EC, before publishing or broadcasting because once the information is out there it would be difficult to take it back.While we understand that various media are in competition to break the news first, we urge all practitioners and media houses to err on the side of caution in publishing electoral information from henceforth so as not to engender strife among the various parties, their sympathisers and the public in the run-up to, during and after the December 7 election.We must bear in mind that the stakes are high during this year’s elections, especially as it appears none of the two major political parties - the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) -  is ready for a defeat.As stated by Mrs Osei in her encounter with the media, we need a media just as strong and independent as the EC and one whose motivation is the national interest and not personal or party interests.