Akosombo, July 28, GNA – The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Ghana) at the weekend declared Election 2012 as crucial for the consolidation of Ghana’s fledging democracy and therefore urged the nation to tread cautiously to ensure that the democratic gains made so far are not sacrificed.
“The role of the media and politicians are crucial as their stance and posturing during this period would either help preserve and nurture our democracy or destroy the fabric of our society.
“Unfortunately however, media tyranny and sensationalism in reportage is high and continues to undermine the nation's democratic gains”, Brigadier General Francis Asiedu Agyemfra, IEA Senior Fellow made these observations at a workshop organized by the Institute at Akosombo.
The two-day workshop was organized by the IEA through the Ghana Political Parties Programme for senior media practitioners and political party leaders on theme: “The role of the media in an Election year”.
Brig. Gen. Agyemfra noted that several journalists had relegated to the background their crucial democratic role of informing and educating the public on important policy issues that would help advance development.
He also expressed concern about the attitude of some politicians who used political platforms to spew out abusive language and verbal attacks on their opponents in a manner that violated their own political parties’ code of conduct.
“Indeed, this state of affairs has contributed to the polarization and acrimony we are witnessing in Ghana today and it is for this reason that the IEA as part of its effort to contribute to the consolidation of democracy and promotion of peaceful elections, is creating a platform to bring both the media, politicians and security agencies together to brainstorm,” he stated.
Speaking on the topic, “Towards a peaceful and violence-free elections: The role of the media, politician and security agencies,” the Reverend Dr Fred Deegbe, General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana cautioned that the holding of five successive national elections did not mean the nation should take things for granted.
He reminded politicians that the nation was bigger than any individual or group of persons, and that the quest for political power should be tagged as “a do or die affair" where they should use every means, whether foul or fair to win power.
“I believe the various scenarios about the tragic ends of selfish politicians across the continent should serve as a lesson to others. Most of the civil wars that have taken place on the continent were caused by politicians who despised the rights and sovereignty of the people to use illegal means to cling to power”.
Rev Deegbe noted that if politicians will be circumspect and seek to do politics with decorum and respect their opponents,”there will surely be a peaceful electoral process”.
He tasked political leaders to promote tolerance and peace both in deeds and words whilst inspiring their followers to do same. "They should use their campaign platforms to speak on issues and respect the electoral process”.
On the security front, Rev Deegbe touted the tactical and professional conduct of the security agencies which had generally contributed to deepening the nation’s democratic credentials
He noted however that the neutrality of the state security agencies for the protection of human life, voters, electoral materials and officials as well as the preservation of lawful and orderly electoral processes were necessary for credible, free and fair elections.
Other speakers included Mr Kabral Blay Amihere, Chairman of the National Media Commission; Mr Akoto Ampaw, NMC Member; and Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso Acting Director of LECIAD.