The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, has admonished journalists to be factual in their reportage as the country goes to the polls on December 7, 2020.
He said the media would be needed more in this year's election than any other time in the history of the country as a result of the limitation on mass political rallies.
"We have a bigger obligation in this election because this election is not based on mass campaigns with big rallies. That is why we must be a little more sincere to ourselves in the stories that we put out. We should not just publish anything that comes to our notice. We should verify and cross-check.
“When things come to us and we do not understand, it doesn’t take away anything if we hold on to the story and call somebody to authenticate the story. It makes us better," he said.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh was speaking at the launch of a project by the NMC in Accra yesterday.
The project, which is to ensure the safety of journalists during the elections, is being implemented in collaboration with the Ghana Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD-Ghana).
It will also help sensitise journalists to the need to deploy professional ethics in their reportage of the general election.
The NMC will also visit some selected media houses and interact with journalists and editors, and urge them to commit to ensuring accurate and verified reportage of electoral proceedings.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh, who was a former Director, Newspapers, of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), further advised the media to always strive for accuracy instead of speed in their reportage of the elections.
"It is good that you are first, but if anytime you are first and your stories are punctured, what is the first for?
“It is necessary that you wait. When you have gotten all the parameters and you are first, that makes you a good first. The quality of the story is you.
“When journalism comes to publishing inaccurate and unverified information, we would have lost whatever we stand for. There is so much trust in you that you have to do the right thing," he added.
The chairman also tasked journalists to give meaning to the profession, saying "the significance the profession gets is what we as individuals put into it."
"As a journalist, you must live as a journalist. You must be remembered as a journalist. You should not be remembered because you are a politician, medical officer or somebody. Each one of us is a trained professional and our profession is no better or inferior to any other profession.
“If we think that we have value for ourselves, then we are going to act in ways that would give meaning to the practice of journalism," he said.
The Director of Advocacy and Policy Management, CDD-Ghana, Mr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, expressed worry about the growing trend in the use of abusive language on the airwaves.
He said such a practice could be curbed if the media refused to empanel people who used their platform to incite and provoke conflict.
"As the election countdown begins, we will be counting on the reach, influence and power of the media to influence behaviour and to effectively inform the public in the language they understand about electoral procedures, the dos and don'ts, what they should do after the polls are closed, among others," Mr Asante said.