General News of Tuesday, 1 November 2016
Some journalists are threatening to sue the Electoral Commission if it insists on taking money from the media before allowing them to cover the upcoming general elections.
The EC on Monday announced its intention of requiring accreditation fees from journalists who wish to cover the elections.
Though the Commission is yet to determine the fee a statement signed by its Head of Communications, Eric Dzakpasu said “accreditation tags will be given to only those who have formally applied for it and for a fee to be determined by the Commission.”
But the President of a group known as the International Standard Journalists Association, Dr. Nana Oppong said they will not pay for the accreditation but would cover the elections.
He said “we will cover the election but we will not pay the money that the EC is demanding and we are going to see what decision the EC is going to take against journalists who intend to cover free and fair and peaceful election in accordance with the constitution of the country.”
“We have options; one of the options is going to court, the reason why we haven’t gone to court is that the EC is already embroiled in too many court cases and what we think is that it doesn’t need another court case. What we need now is common sense to prevail and if that doesn’t work then obviously we would have to go to court.”
He also argued that the EC has been given huge sums of money from both government and donor partners to conduct the elections hence extorting money from journalists for accreditation is not necessary.
A separate statement filed by the association further urged the EC to do the right thing.
“We support the Electoral Commission’s mandate and endeavor to run a free, fair and peaceful election for Ghana in 2016. This mandate requires freedom of access by journalists and citizens alike to the Electoral Commission at any time before, during and after the elections. Accordingly, we urge the Electoral Commission to govern herself accordingly and do the right thing,” the statement added.
It will be recalled that in September 2015, some journalists in the Ashanti and Western Regions, were asked by the EC to pay an amount of GHc 8 before getting accreditation to cover the exercise.