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The Tema Chapter of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has organized a day’s election seminar for its members with a call on media practitioners to tilt their reportage towards conflict prevention during the December 7th general elections.
Mr Afful Monney, GJA National Vice President, who made the call on Friday, reiterated that to prevent creating chaos and conflict during the electioneering period, journalists must desist from declaring unconfirmed results.
The seminar was on the theme: “Towards a peaceful election: the role of the media”.
Mr Monney added that media practitioners must rather endeavor to enhance upon the professional reportage delivered during previous elections.
He called for comportment of journalists at the polling stations as well as using of only authentic sources, and cross checking of facts before broadcasting.
He further asked journalists not to allow their political preferences to colour their reportage, but must focus on issues and provision of equal space and time to all political parties contesting the elections.
Mr Gabriel Manu, Tema Metropolitan Director of the Electoral Commission in a presentation said even though the law does not allow journalists to participate in the special voting, on December 7th properly accredited reporters could be allowed to vote early to enable them monitor and report on the election as expected of them.
Mr Manu also urged accredited journalists to announce their presence to the presiding officers at the polling stations before taking pictures and other information to avoid any confrontation and misunderstanding.
He gave the assurance that to ensure that the election process was smooth and fast, the register had been arranged alphabetically for easy location.
He added that his outfit had recruited a total of 2,340 people to supervise the election at the 468 polling stations under his jurisdiction.
Out of the 2,340 officers, Tema East Constituency would have 610; Tema West Constituency, 765; Tema Central Constituency and Kpone-Katamanso constituencies, 405 and 560 respectively.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Maxwell Atingane, Tema Regional Police Commander, in a speech read on his behalf by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Olivia Turkson, Tema Police PRO, said all Ghanaians had a responsibility to ensure a smooth electoral process before, during and after the election.
DCOP Atingane stated that the media must be agents of development rather than directly or indirectly affect the emotions of the public negatively through the broadcast of inflammatory statements that would incite opposing factions.
He also implored the media to be factual in their reportage and to desist from rushing to declare winners since the authority to declare results rest in the arms of the Electoral Commission.
He also urged the media to quickly inform the Police when they received information on challenges facing people at any polling station.
Mr Godfred Blay Gibbah, Chairperson of the Tema Chapter of the GJA, said the seminar was aimed at sharpening the skills of members to enhance their reportage during the election.
He said the seminar theme was very important because journalists must be fair, accurate and objective in their reportage to ensure a peaceful election.
Nii Adjei Kraku II, Tema Mantse, who chaired the programme congratulated the GJA for their contribution towards the development of democracy in the country and urged them to continue the good work.