General News of Thursday, 6 December 2012
With less than 48 hours to the polls, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) reminds the media and journalists about their crucial role in contributing to free, fair and peaceful elections. The media have an invaluable duty to perform in the electoral process, and whether and how they discharge their mandate will go a long way in shaping the media's place in the country's democratic and development process.
The MFWA thus, urges all media houses and journalists to abide by the ethics of the profession and eschew partisanship, hate speech, rumour mongering and all other forms of unprofessional conduct that may contribute to raising tensions and jeopardising the peace of the country.
Specifically, the MFWA urges the media to take a cue from happenings in Kenya and other places where unprofessional media conduct contributed to elections-related violence. Journalists are also reminded about the trial of a Kenyan radio show host, Joshua Arap Sang, currently facing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague for his role in the 2007 Kenyan electoral crisis.
The Foundation believes the basic tenets of the profession- truth, accuracy and objectivity- should guide journalist in the coverage of the elections. These tenets should be applied in the spirit of optimum consideration of peace, national cohesion and unity.
The media is also encouraged to make education of the voter on the electoral processes a major priority.
The Executive Director of the MFWA, Prof. Kwame Karikari, while commending the media for the hardwork in the coverage of the electoral activities so far, said the election day and days after present the real test of professionalism for the media.
"The media must be guided by ethical standards and be mindful of the cultural sensitivities of our people in their coverage and reportage on the elections," he added.
This, he believes, will reward the efforts of press freedom fighters and entrench Ghana's democratic credentials on the continent.
Issued by MFWA in Accra on December 5, 2012
The MFWA is a regional independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Accra. It was founded in 1997 to defend and promote the rights and freedom of the media and all forms of expression. For more information please contact: Kwame Karikari (Prof) Executive Director MFWA Accra Tel: 233-0302-24 24 70 Fax: 233-0302-22 10 84