Journalists charged to play role towards peaceful elections

Journalists charged to play role towards peaceful elections

Ahead of the December 7 general election, journalists and media houses have been urged to play their roles effectively to help preserve the country’s peace and democracy.


Speaking to the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a two-day capacity-building workshop for media professionals on electoral reforms, the resource persons stressed the need for journalists to be well-versed in election timelines, processes and laws to ensure a successful outcome.

The resource persons included the Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), George Sarpong; the National Coordinator of the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), Albert Arhin; a Senior Programme Officer at the Centre for Democratic Development, Ghana (CDD-Ghana), Michael Augustus Akagbor, and a private legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini.

The Convener for the Affirmative Action Bill (AAB) Coalition, Sheila Minka-Premo, also solicited the support of the media to advocate the passage of the Affirmative Action and Gender Equality Bill into law by Parliament.

2024 General election

On December 7, 2024, Ghanaians will head to the polls to elect a new President, as well as 275 members of Parliament. This will be the country’s ninth general election since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1992.

Critical roles

Mr Sarpong said the media played a key role in electoral processes as candidates and political parties depended on access to the people. He, therefore, called on journalists to ensure that everybody followed laid down rules.

“That should also imply that journalists must familiarise themselves with the rules to make sure they thoroughly understand what is expected of them to ensure everybody else also complies.”

He entreated media houses to create space for peacemakers such as the National Peace Council (NPC), regulatory authorities, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) among others, who all work to promote and sustain democracy instead of focusing on the “combatants” — namely the political parties and the Electoral Commission (EC).

Mr Sarpong indicated that although these institutions did not have direct participation in the elections, they played critical roles when there were misunderstandings, hence it was important that as the media listened to the political parties and the EC, they also would give opportunities and voices to the peacebuilders to help mend the relationships that might be breaking down.

The NMC executive secretary said at the individual level, media houses must ensure that all journalists covering elections read and understood the rules and guidelines governing the election.

He added that since election disputes could turn ugly, journalists must have access, and should wear the proper protective gear.


Mr Arhin commended journalists for their contributions towards successful elections in the past and called on the media to partner Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) such as CODEO and CDD-Ghana to advocate electoral reforms in the following areas: election results management, parliamentary election petition adjudication and affirmative action.

This, he stressed, would contribute to improving the integrity and transparency of the polls and lead to a peaceful election in the country. He reiterated the need for the media to report accurately on elections, stressing that, “If the media reportage is accurate, a lot of misunderstandings will be avoided during elections.”  

“Accuracy in reportage is very critical. There should be no exaggerations. If you can do all these, the nation stands to benefit a lot from your reportage,” he explained. Mr Arhin noted that although Ghana's electoral processes had undergone several reforms since 1992, there was room for further reforms such as the need to amend PNDCL 284 to provide a shorter timeline for adjudicating parliamentary elections.

He, therefore, solicited the support of the media in the advocacy for the Judiciary to fashion a shorter timeline for parliamentary election petition adjudication. For his part, Mr Akagbor urged journalists to be guided by the fact that elections were human rights events, hence journalists must include issues of human rights monitoring in their basket of activities before, during and after the elections so that people’s rights were not infringed upon.

He said journalists must understand that elections were not about those who contested but those who had the power to make the selections. He said for the most part, the media seemed to lose focus when it came to reporting elections.

He said most often, journalists tended to focus on the candidates instead of bringing out the issues that citizens want the candidates to address, stressing that in monitoring the upcoming election, the media must focus attention on the people who make the decisions and highlight their challenges such as equal access to the electoral process.

Legal framework

Lawyer Anyenini underscored the need for journalists to familiarise themselves with all rules and laws governing the election process, adding that knowledge of these laws would empower them to question the integrity of the political processes.

Sheila Minka-Premo, for her part, noted that the 40 women members of parliament out of 275 parliamentary seats in the country portrayed an imbalance in the system. She, therefore, urged the media to advocate the passage of the Affirmative Action and Gender Equality Bill by Parliament into law to address the imbalance.

She said considering the role women played in society, it was about time the media highlighted the need for women to have increased representation on the decision-making table.



The training programme, organised by CDD-Ghana with support from the European Union (EU), sought to empower journalists and media practitioners to play a more informed and constructive role in promoting transparent and credible electoral processes.

The participants explored topics such as civil, political and human rights issues in elections, legal frameworks on elections in Ghana, gender and elections in Ghana, a case for Affirmative Action, code of conduct and media ethics, professionalism and election reporting.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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