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Regional News of Monday, 23 November 2020

Source: otecfmghana.com

Ensuring peace is continuous process not an event – Dr. Stephen Takyi

Lecturer at KNUST,  Dr Stephen Takyi Lecturer at KNUST, Dr Stephen Takyi

The Lecturer at the Department of Planning of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr Stephen Takyi has asked the government, Media Practitioners as well as Security enforcement agencies to be proactive rather than reactive in promoting peace in the country.

He noted that it was important to adopt peace-making and peace-building initiatives in promoting peace rather than waiting to implement peace-keeping strategies mostly after conflict and violence had erupted, leading to the loss of lives and property.

Speaking as Guest of Honour at the 3rd Graduation and Matriculation Ceremony for the OTEC School of Journalism and Communication under the theme "Ensuring Peaceful Election: The Role of the Media", Dr. Stephen Takyi indicated that peace-keeping was ensuring the absence of violence, while peace-making meant working on the attitudes of people involved in conflict for them to choose peace over conflict.

“I have always seen it as counterproductive when we wait for an election year before we organize peace walks, prayer session for peace, education programs for the youth on peace among other interesting peace-related programs. This is what I normally refer to as a cosmetic approach to solving societal problems," he stressed.

Peace-building, on the other hand, he said, involved building mostly permanent structures that promoted peace adding that it was important to look critically at all underlying issues that could bring conflict and seek ways of building bridges for the groups and individuals involved before violence broke out.

“I believe that in the 21st century, a journalist should not wait for elections before we promote peaceful coexistence in our society. Our day to day lives as a nation will determine whether we will have peace in an election year or not," Dr Takyi said.

Dr Takyi said to achieve peaceful and inclusive societies, it was expected that nations worked towards a significant reduction of all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere, as well as strengthen relevant institutions to help promote peace.

The role of journalism in preventing violence

According to the Canadian trained Planner, “We cannot solve problems if we do not diagnose the problems from the root causes. Journalists can therefore contribute to peace by trying to understand the root causes of the various electoral violence. It is the responsibility of the journalists to provide a balanced reportage on the situation irrespective of their biases. The only way journalist in Ghana can truly be agents of peace is to get the trust of the people and a journalist can build public trust if he/she becomes the voice of the voiceless."

“It is quite pathetic that our national discourse is dominated by partisan politics. It must be noted that democracy without true transformational and strategic development is a national security threat. How can partisan politics dominate our national discourse when there are numerous developmental challenges confronting our society today?" he quizzed.

“The only group of professionals who can change our national discourse to development-oriented discourse are Journalists. As a nation, we will not need to be worried about electoral violence if there is equitable distribution of national resources. As the famous Peter Tosh once said, “everyone is crying out for peace… I need equal rights and justice”. Journalists must therefore be instruments of equal rights and justice," he bemoaned.

“Your work as a journalist should be guided by the principles of social justice, integrity, objectivity and accountability. In our current partisan society, journalists must be rigorous in the discharge of their duties and they should never tailor their voices only to suit special interests such as political leaders," Dr Takyi challenged the Media Practitioners.

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