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General News of Thursday, 31 July 2003

Source: GNA

Stakeholders evaluate media coverage of NRC

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Accra, July 31, GNA - Stakeholders at a meeting to evaluate media coverage of the National Reconciliation process on Thursday appealed to the Public Relations Unit of the Commission to improve on its work to help sustain the interest of the public in the proceedings. They said public interest in the work of the Commission was dwindling and said the work of the PR section should be strengthened to enhance the Commission's work.

The stakeholders, including the National Media Commission (NMC) the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Media Watch Limited and the various media houses noted that it would help if those accused were called as early as possible to give their responses.

They said in so doing the momentum of the Commission's work and public interest would be maintained.

The meeting jointly chaired by Mr Cyril Acolatse, Mr Kwamena Longdon and Dr Bonnah Koomson, all members of the NMC, was to evaluate the coverage by the media houses.

The report for June compiled by Media Watch was published as part of an agreement entered into by Media Watch Ltd and the NMC. It was funded by the UNDP through the National Governance Programme and supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

It indicated that the media generally improved on their coverage of the Commission's work for the month under review.

Mr Leonard Dey, General Manager of Media Watch, said during the period under review, Ghana News Agency (GNA) published a total of 28 stories all of which were neutral in tone and in their portrayal of witnesses.

He said for the Television stations, GTV continued to lead by 49.1 per cent in terms of airtime devoted to the proceedings, Metro TV followed with 34.1 per cent with TV3 following with 16.8 per cent. TV Africa did not broadcast anything on NRC.

Radio Savannah took the lead for the radio stations with more than one-tenth (17.7 per cent) of the total number of stories followed by Peace FM with 12.3 per cent and Uniiq FM with 11.2 per cent he said. Mr Dey said for the newspapers, Accra Daily Mail led with a little more than 20.6 per cent of the total stories published, followed by the Daily Guide with 19.0 per cent and the Independent with 12.1 per cent. He said there was no unfavourable story in the print media monitored for the month of June adding that stories coded were generally neutral in tone and in portrayal of witnesses.

Mr Dey said all stories broadcast on television were enhanced with actuality and this was an improvement on what pertained in May. He said the relocation of the NRC to Tamale in the Northern Region for two weeks had an impact on the volume of coverage for June that recorded the least in all media monitored.

Mr Dey said there was a growing tendency where witnesses who appeared before the Commission granted interviews to the media both before and after giving evidence leading to contradictions. He suggested that the media should be circumspect and to ensure uniform and consistent reportage.

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