NCCE, Media duty-bound to defend Constitution — Ms Nkrumah
The destinies of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the media are tied in with the 1992 Constitution and both institutions are duty-bound to uphold and defend the ideals of the constitution, the Chairperson of the NCCE, Ms Josephine Nkrumah, has underscored
has, therefore, stressed the need for a strong partnership between the NCCE and the media to enable the commission to successfully execute its mandate.
She stated, however, that she was worried that in spite of the plethora of media professionals operating in the country and the presence of the commission on the ground, there was an ascendancy in civil apathy.
She further stressed that there was the need to build synergy between the two institutions.
Ms Nkrumah made these observations when she addressed an advocacy workshop for 45 journalists drawn from the Greater Accra, Volta and Central regions of the country.
NCCE and media advocacy
The workshop, which was on the theme: “Strengthening Civic Consciousness through Media Advocacy” and funded by the European Union (EU), was aimed at grooming the selected journalists to understand the mandate of the NCCE and to empower them to give adequate publicity to activities and programmes of the Commission.
It would also equip them with the skills to understand and appreciate civic-related issues to guide their content development and reportage.
Ultimately, the journalists will become media ambassadors to join in the awareness creation campaign of the NCCE.
Ms Nkrumah expressed the view that there was the need for the NCCE and the media to work together to lift the citizenry from the realm of civic apathy to the level of patriotism and development focus.
Focus of media reportage
She lamented the fact that quite often, the focus of media reportage on the commission had been on its challenges and shortcomings, stressing that there was the need to stop the blame game and brainstorm how to create the necessary civic consciousness.
Speaking on “Why the media should engage the NCCE in civic education”, a diplomat and a former Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere, posited that being a good citizen was based on one’s knowledge of the constitution and abiding by its dictates since it defined all the rights of a citizen.
Mr Amihere said the NCCE was handicapped and did not have the full resources to fulfil its mandate and that was why the media needed to partner it.
For him, much could be achieved if the media was able to help the NCCE, since a lot of could be achieved in the national interest.
He stated that realistically, the stories written by journalists on the NCCE might not necessarily sell their media products but it would ultimately strengthen the national cause.
Mr Amihere said if the citizenry was educated to determine who ought to be in power, then the influence of money in deciding who gets elected in the country would cease.
“The NCCE must not be allowed to walk alone. They are carrying our cross and require all our support,” he stressed.
The Director of News Programming at Citi FM, Mr Bernard Avle, touched on the use of social media for civic education and pointed out that media personnel ought to be conscious of the fact that they were citizens before media professionals and, therefore, were expected to play their roles as citizens.
He, therefore, emphasised the need for media professionals to collaborate with the NCCE in order to make good meaning of their roles and responsibilities as citizens.
“We must not wait till elections to be activated but we need to be engaging even during the political ,” he added.
He indicated that it would not come easily since there were bound to in the form of stiff opposition from politicians with other vested interests, state institutions, negative mindsets, passive citizens and global economic development.
Going beneath the surface
“As journalists”, Mr Avle underscored, “we must become agents of civic consciousness, for which reason we ought to deploy tools to track and ensure that promises made by the government are fulfilled.”
He advised journalists to ask relevant questions, saying; “if you keep asking the right questions, you will get to the right conclusion.”
He said journalists ought not to limit themselves to covering assignments but that an assignment should be a precursor to a larger issue that afflicts society.
Mr Avle’s stance is that “if the media gets the stories right, we will be setting the agenda. We must highlight the right issues, expose wrongdoing, show what works, track duty-bearers and cover volunteer activity.”
Throwing more light on the concept of civic education, the Communications and Corporate Affairs Director of the NCCE, Ms Joyce Afutu, said it aimed to create and sustain within the awareness of the principles and objectives of the constitution as the fundamental law of Ghana.
She stressed that there was the need to ensure that the government did what was expected of it under the constitution, saying in the reverse that citizens ought to remain patriotic and take their civic responsibilities seriously.
“We, therefore, need to feed the people with information to make them compliant and the role of the media in achieving this cannot be downplayed,” she added.