Speakers at the launch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) 2020 Media Convention have warned against the impact of disinformation in the upcoming presidential and legislative elections.
In separate addresses, the speakers namely; the Director of Electoral Services at the Electoral Commission, Dr Serebour Quaicoe, the GJA President, Mr Affail Monney, the Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh and the US Ambassador, Her Excellency Stephanie Sullivan urged the media to be truthful and factual in the lead up to and after the December 7 elections.
In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of the launch Dr Serebour lauded the media for the contributions it has made towards safeguarding Ghana’s democracy over the years.
He added that a conscious effort must be made towards combatting disinformation before and during the elections.
Mr Monney noted that the collaboration that has existed between the GJA and the US Consulate in Ghana was an example of partnerships that had promoted civility in the coverage of elections over the years.
He said the media was obliged to reduce tensions during election years.
“The media have professional, ethical, constitutional, moral and godly responsibilities to help diffuse the tensions and shape the complexion of the electioneering and influence the electorate to make intelligent decisions at the polls,” Mr Monney said.
“The point can hardly be articulated that toxic campaign and peaceful elections do not belong in the same sentence. Hence, the GJA’s iron-clad commitment to and unapologetic resolve to promote civility and discernment in the political discourse as the theme for the Media convention amplifies”.
H.E. Sullivan mentioned that democracy cannot survive without a free and responsible press, hence, the need for vigilance in the journalism practice.
She stated that although technology offers the unprecedented opportunity to expand media freedoms, information can also be distorted by actors with ill-intentions to amplify destructive partisanship.
She said she had seen many accurate stories but with misleading headlines urging the convention to disregard gossip.
Mr Boadu-Ayeboafoh urged the media to be impartial and fair to all stakeholders involved in the electioneering process.
He explained that in order to maintain their integrity, journalists must not accept any favours from political actors with the exception of transportation to cover political activities at remote locations.
Mr Monney disclosed that the GJA 2020 Media Convention themed “The 2020 Election – Role of the Media in Promoting Civility and Discernment in the Political Discourse” will be replicated in four centres across the country.
He said similar conventions would be held at Kumasi, Takoradi, Wa and Tamale.