The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has urged journalists to uphold decorum and circumspection in their coverage to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.
“Both conventional and social media need to serve as guardians and promoters of free, fair, credible and peaceful elections”, the President Affail Monney said in a statement issued by the Association on Tuesday.
It said the Association, had always made it clear that the role of a free media was indispensable under the circumstances Ghana found itself, to ensure that its electoral process was free and transparent.
“It was for this reason that we got the Electoral Commission to restore the right of media personnel to early/special voting, which was withdrawn during the 2012 Election”.
It argued that judging from some of the media infractions, the heated debates as well as the acrimony that characterised the campaigns and activities of certain political parties this year, particularly the National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party, “we cannot take chances with media coverage”.
The GJA has therefore asked journalists to cross-check every piece of information that they receive and be fair to all subjects of the news.
It said they should not report hearsay as facts even if they emanated from party officials. This equally applies to those operating on social media.
“We urge all stakeholders, particularly, the Electoral Commission, political parties, the electorate, and indeed civil society to accord all media professionals, particularly journalists in their line of duty, the necessary assistance, so that they can give of their best”.
It also asked political parties to impress upon their supporters to desist from any acts of provocation or attacks on media personnel in their line of duty, as has been the case in the past.
The GJA advised media personnel on assignments to walk away from any violent provocation or physical attacks and report the incident immediately to the police, National Media Commission, GJA or Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association.