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General News of Saturday, 1 December 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Media must stop running political party advertisements by 7a.m.Thursday

The National Media Commission (NMC) has reminded media houses to stop running political party advertisements by 7am next Thursday.

The cessation of the adverts would coincide with the Electoral Commission's (EC) directive to all political parties to cease campaigning 24 hours to the elections.

Mr George Sarpong, the Executive Secretary of the NMC, who gave the advise also directed radio and television presenters to refrain from promoting any form of political party activities on their programmes within the stated period.

Mr Sarpong noted that the input, acceptance and implementation of the guidelines for the various media houses would reduce public perception that the media had been the cause of creating tension in the country.

Addressing journalists of the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions during a consultative meeting on the guidelines for political parties held in Kumasi, Mr Sarpong said it was important for media houses to give fair coverage of advertisement to all political parties.

He noted that the slant, tone and intensity of messages in some of the political party advertisements had raised concerns among Ghanaians, explaining that some of the advertisements had the capacity to incite sectarian division to undermine national cohesion, hence the urgent need for the guidelines to guide advertisements.

He also advised against replaying offensive statements pronounced by politicians on radio and television, saying such activities had the tendency to undermine the electoral process.

He said the public may regard the timing of the NMC guidelines as late, “but it had rather come at the appropriate time because electioneering is at its peak”.

For his part, the Chairman of the NMC, Mr Kabral Blay Amihere, explained that the guidelines were not meant for the elections alone but were part of the NMC's policies to create sanity in the advertising business.

According to him, the guidelines would serve as a reference point for journalists and advertising companies as they engaged in political advertisement.

The journalists unanimously called for a ban on the use of children under 18 years in political party adverts.

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