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Senior Police officer urges media to prevent violence-inciting reportage

 

Ho, July 20, GNA - Chief Superintendent of Police Owusu Berko, Ho Municipal Police Commander, on Friday entreated journalists to carry out their constitutional duties in a way that would not incite violence.

     He urged them to bear in mind that whatever happened as a result of their actions or inactions, would affect not only themselves but also their families.

     Chief Supt. Berko made the statements on Friday, when he spoke on the topic “Ensuring Credible and Transparent Elections 2012: The Role of the Police/Media” at the second in a four -part workshop organized by the Ghana News Agency for its staff.

     The workshop, which has the theme, “Upgrading GNA’s Human Capital for In-Depth Coverage of Election 2012 And Beyond” is being sponsored by STAR Ghana, a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism funded by the European Union, UKAid, DANIDA and USAID to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery.

     It has the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Ghana’s government, traditional authorities and the private sector.

     Citing examples from various areas where he had participated in peace-keeping missions, such as Cambodia, he described the dire effects of conflicts on citizens of a country and urged participants not to allow Ghana to get into a situation that they would all “live to regret”.

     Chief Supt Berko also noted that although the police and media sometimes seemed to be at loggerheads with each other when it came to the performance of their respective constitutional duties, they both worked for the same cause: to make sure society lived in peace with itself and thus should respect each other’s responsibilities.

     He stated that media owners and editors should know and abide by rules and guidelines of the elections, be accurate and unbiased in their reportage and avoid primordial and ethnic sentiments.

     They should also know as well as enlighten the public on their civic responsibility, which was to cast their votes.

     He said the Ghana Police Service was doing all it could to provide a smooth environment for all political parties during the elections and urged them to submit their itinerary including rallies so as to prevent clashes with other parties.

     “The police are committed to ensure law and order, peace and security and would put measures in place such as day and night patrols, escorting of ballot boxes to and from polling stations and sensitizing personnel on what to and what not to do during the elections” he said.

     Mr. Dogbe Adukpo Selormey, Deputy Volta Regional Director of the Electoral Commission , who also spoke on the key elements in electoral reporting, advised the media to circumspect in the use of election terminologies, including fraud and rigging, in the reportage as their misuse could lead to misinformation of the public which cause some problems.

     He cited the common misuse of the terms “collation” and “counting” and explained that counting referred to the counting of ballots at the polling stations while collation referred to the adding of all results from the various polling stations in a particular constituency.

     Mr Selormey also advised the media to seek early accreditation from the Commission to observe and to reports on electoral activities such as registration and elections.

     He added that when reporting, journalists must do so accurately, impartially and in the right context, separating facts from sentiments.

     Other speakers at the workshop, designed to equip reporters, stringers and other staff of the GNA to report effectively before, during and after election 2012, included Mr. Edward Ameyibor, former Supervising Chief Editor - GNA, Mr. Alex Lamte Lawson, former head of the Home Desk –GNA, Mr Mohammed Nurudeen Issahaq, Head of Home desk and Mr. Mawusi Afele, Acting General Manager and Supervising Chief Editor -GNA.

    Participants were staff of the Agency from the Central, Western and Greater Accra Regions.

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