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General News of Monday, 28 November 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Media attacks on EC could heighten tension - Women Lawyers

The Executive Director of the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA), Ms Edna Kumah, has condemned attacks on the Electoral Commission (EC) in the media, saying that it can heighten tension in the upcoming general election.

She said the attacks could fuel tension among the electorate and ultimately lead to attacks on the offices of the EC.

She also said some angry electorate who might be misinformed by the media could even threaten the lives of officials of the EC.

Ms Kumah was speaking at a day’s training workshop on electoral laws organised for journalists from selected media houses and policemen in Accra.

The programme, organised by AWLA, with funding from STAR-Ghana, was aimed at enhancing participants’ knowledge of the electoral laws to ensure better coverage of the December general election.

Ms Kumah said it was observed during the 2012 elections that some media houses reported perceptions and allegations as facts and that created tension.

She, therefore, urged journalists to be impartial, accurate and balanced in their reportage during the upcoming elections.

She also asked them to desist from announcing the election results, cautioning that such practice could spark off election-related violence.

“It is important that journalists choose their words carefully as they cover events during the election. Words must be clear and unambiguous. Journalists have a larger responsibility to report accurately and in the right context,” she stressed.

Ms Kumah said the role of the media was very vital in the development of the country and commended them for their role in the country’s development so far.

Offences

The Executive Secretary of AWLA, Ms Afiba Amihere, for her part, advised the electorate to desist from election offences such as impersonation and double voting.

She said a voter who did that committed an offence and was liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding GH¢1million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

She said over the past 20 years, Ghana had held six successful elections and called on the media to help ensure free and fair elections.

Ms Amihere urged personnel of the security agencies to carry out their duties professionally and in an unbiased manner to ensure violence-free elections.