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Regional News of Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Source: GNA

Media has responsibility of ensuring peace-Ransford Tetteh

Mr. Ransford Tetteh, President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), on Wednesday reminded media practitioners that they have the responsibility of contributing to peace in the country.

He said this could be achieved through fair and balanced reportage, as the country prepared for Election 2012.

Mr. Tetteh, who made the call at the opening of a two-day conference on Media and Elections in Africa, in Accra, said: "If we stick to our professional standards of good balance and fairness, we would largely maintain a harmonious and orderly society."

He said in as much as press freedom was pivotal to the development of democracy; it had to be handled with tact and responsibility.

Mr. Tetteh reminded journalists of their responsibility of safe guarding the sanctity of society.

He expressed worry that some media practitioners laid more emphasis on insults and sensationalism that unnecessarily fueled hostility and chaos in politics and society, instead of raising issues at stake.

The GJA President said: “Election is not an opportunity for war. It is just a contest which should be as peaceful as possible, “and urged journalists to educate the public on basic rules and regulations on the forth-coming elections, in order to minimize chaos that often occurred, largely due to ignorance on the part of some electorate.

Mr. Kwadwo Sarfo Kantanka, Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations at the Electoral Commission (EC), said the Commission was taking measures to ensure a peaceful and transparent election.

He said the introduction of the biometric voters’ registration was a major decision of the EC to ensure that the voting process was "incorruptible".

Mr Kantanka said, more than 6,500,000 people were estimated to have so far undertaken the registration, which fell within the EC's target.

He expressed the hope that media practitioners would work in good faith with the EC during Election 2012 and report on what would be certified as true results.

Prof. Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), said in Africa, elections determined whether there would be peace or chaos.

He said the media was central to ensuring peace during elections and added that "our concern is about how to get the media to inform the public accurately; how to ensure that their coverage would not unnecessarily fan anarchy but contribute to justice, peace and fairness."

Organized by the MFWA and funded by the International Media Support, the conference will bring together experts on media and elections from Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and newly independent South Sudan.

The conference would end with recommendations and a framework for the development of a handbook on professional coverage of elections.**

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