The National Peace Council Eastern Regional chapter has charged journalists to reports on elections in a way that will promote peace in the country since is a critical to Ghana’s democratic governance.
According to the Eastern Regional Chairman, Reverend Father Andrew Kwami Dunyo, the impact of the media on the public attitudes and behaviour and their influence on political and social affairs have made them in a relatively short space of time enormously powerful organs of persuasion.
This came to light when the National Peace Council organised a two days’ workshop for the media in Koforidua under the theme; “Strengthening the Capacities of the Media to promote Responsible Conflict Reporting and Peace Building for a Peaceful Election in 2020.
“The media has a crucial role in ensuring peace in the country before, during and after the elections,” he said.
“In earlier days coups d’etat centred mainly on the royal or presidential palace but in modern days, they typically centre on the capital’s radio or television stations”.
He said those who control the media can be assumed to control the state, this is only to point out the powerful role of the media in the socio-political process.
As a result of the almost universal accessibility of the electronic media, if not the print media, those who control them wield enormous influence in the shaping of public opinion.
The point being made is that the influence of especially the electronic media in the shaping of public opinion cannot be underestimated. Political Parties in the advanced democracies have learnt how to use the mass media to their advantage.
Indeed, in most countries of the world general elections are fought out almost entirely on television by means of discussions, promotion and canvassing of political ideas.
“Again, the media’s positive contributions should not blind us to the dangers inherent in mass communications, especially where effective control may be in the hands of a very few, usually wealthy and political biased powerful individuals who are motivated by pecuniary and political interests” he added.
He said, in spite of the media’s positive in respect of Ghana’s democratic development, a few sampled individuals are of a view that the media have distorted the meaning of democracy in Ghana.
According to this group of people individuals empanelled to give their views on political issues on Television and Radio studios tend to be ‘Partisan’ in their discussions and often result in quarrels.
“Some Newspapers tend to be politically bias usually maligning political opponents or individuals or groups for their political ideas with impunity. Some who post comments on newspaper articles on the internet, here we are talking about social media, and those who phone radio stations to make contributions on political issues tend to use derogatory, unprintable and insulting language against their opponents sometimes on live radio and television”.
“This behaviour has the potential to bring chaos and therefore must be held in check and sanctioned”
He revealed that a round table discussion on the 2008 and 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana, for example, tagged some journalist as unprofessional and some media house as politically biased, partisan and influenced by politicians.
He said some media houses were blamed for putting news items there, which were based on unconfirmed rumours to incite the public.
Reverend Father Andrew Kwami Dunyo therefore entreated the media to avoid bias reportage and avoid making opinion into fact and sensationalism.