African journalists urged to use new media to counter Western media

Mr Ogo Nweke, Dean of Student Affairs and Lecturer of the African University College of Communications, has urged Journalists in Ghana to use the new media; twitter, blog and facebook, to counter possible negative Western media reports about the 2012 elections.

Mr Nweke made the call at a workshop for some media practitioners and civil society organisations from the Volta and Central Regions in Ho with the theme:“Connecting the Media and Civil Society for Credible 2012 Elections”.

The workshop formed part of the African Elections Project of “Enhancing Peaceful Transparent and Credible Elections in Ghana Using New Media Project ”  and funded by Star-Ghana.

Mr Nweke said the use of the new media during the last elections in Nigeria was very effective in exposing fabricated stories of violence in parts of that country.

He said it was therefore time for African journalists to use those media to disarm the Western media and prove to the world that Africa was capable of organizing violent-free and credible elections as well as ensuring positive developments.

Mr Nweke said the mobile phone was a potent means of reporting events at polling stations in words or pictures and disseminating them to the rest of the world in good time.

He said through the mobile phones the attention of the Electoral Commission and the security agencies could be alerted about challenges on the field for quick remedial measures to be taken.

Mr Nweke said in Ghana for instance over 19 million people, mainly the youth, could monitor the elections on their mobile phones thus raising the standards for accountability, credibility and transparency in the elections.

He, however, called for the observance of high journalistic standards and ethics in the application of these new media given their power and influence.

Ms Laurantia Kpatakpa, Volta Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, said: “We are at an advanced stage of use of best practice in elections”.

She traced the progression of best practices in Ghana’s elections from the use of transparent ballot boxes, photo voter identity cards to capturing biometric data of 10 fingerprints and facial image to eliminate impersonation and fraud.

Mr Jerry Sam, Project Director of the International Institute for ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes), said the African Elections Project sought to facilitate the work of Journalists and civil society organisations to actively use ICT tools in disseminating election information and knowledge to increase citizens’ knowledge on elections and promote peaceful, transparent and credible elections.

Source: GNA

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