National Media Commission sets parameters for coverage of Election 2012

The National Media Commission (NMC) on Tuesday engaged Board Members and Managers of State-owned Media on parameters for fair and equitable coverage of the political parties in Election 2012.

The parameters enjoined State-owned media to work with good conscience to balance the interest of all parties with the overall aim of fulfilling the rights of Ghanaians to truthful and unbiased information and the national process of deepening democratic governance and human rights.

Captured, “Guidelines for Fair and Equitable Coverage of Political Parties by the State-Owned Media,” it focuses on the general coverage, language, incumbency, spokespersons, endorsements, political advertisements, conflict of interest, press conferences, press releases, interviews, confidentiality, covering opinion polls, and coverage of primaries and Presidential debate and Election day activities.

Presenting the guidelines at a day’s workshop for Chief Executives and Board Members of State-owned Media in Accra, Mr Edward Ameyibor, Former President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), said the coverage of political activities by the State-owned media should be based on honesty, accuracy and factuality.

He said opinions should not be confused with news, whilst the language used to present news should not suggest preference for any political party or candidate, stressing that: “Opinionated language and adjectives should not be used to favourably or unfavourably describe political parties or candidates”.

On modalities to check abuse of incumbency, Mr Ameyibor tasked the State-owned media to distinguish between official government business and party political activities to ensure a level playing field for all political parties and candidates irrespective of the party they represented.

He said under no circumstances should State-owned media or journalists endorse a political party or candidate.

Mr Ameyibor, who was among a team of experts who reviewed the NMC Election 2008 Guidelines, tasked political parties and Presidential candidates to provide the names of their officially designated spokespersons including public relations representatives, campaign staff and party functionaries to State-owned media institutions.

The reviewed guidelines also focus on news and programming which directs media to endeavour to attend and report on press conferences organised by political parties.

It also deals with issues of confidentiality, coverage of opinion polls, coverage of primaries and Presidential debates, broadcasting content, issues of live broadcasting, discussion programmes, free airtime, order of appearance on television and radio programmes and the coverage of elections by the print media.

Alhaji Haruna Attah, Editor of the Accra Mail and member of the Review Team, said the NMC would be responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of the guidelines in accordance with its mandate.

Other speakers included; Mr Anthony Akoto Ampaw, NMC Member, Mr Kabral Blay-Amihere, NMC Chairman.

Source: GNA

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