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Media cautioned to set the right agenda with facts for healthy political discourse

About thirty journalists drawn from the electronic and print media took part in the day’s engagement session.

A Political Science Lecturer at the University of Ghana Legon, Dr. Salifu Alidu has entreated media practitioners to use the political season to promote healthy discourse on the airwaves.

He said in setting the agenda for political debates, it was imperative for journalists, particularly talk show hosts to conduct thorough research into issues before they are brought to fore for discussion.

This, he noted, will give the moderator the power to criticize constructively and also counter unsavory remarks with factual evidence.

Dr. Alidu gave the advice at a media engagement organized in Bolgatanga by the National Media Commission, NMC, with funding by the UNDP.

He said the media is a powerful tool that has the propensity to either promote or undermine the relative peace and stability of the country, hence the need to show professionalism.

Radio Ghana’s Correspondent, Isaac Asare who also took part in the day’s engagement session, reports that, over the years, Ghana’s electoral process has been relatively calm and peaceful.

Inspite of the success story, there has been instances of violence as contained in the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers, CODEO’s field observation report.

In 1992 and 1996 for instance, a lot of pre-election violence erupted in parts of the Northern, Upper East Region and the Brong Ahafo Regions.

Comparatively, subsequent elections had been characterized by reports of violence and voting irregularities, violation of voting procedures, suspended voting, missing electoral materials as well as intimidation and harassment on the part of party agents and security operatives.

However, due to Ghana’s strong democratic institutions coupled with the citizen’s belief in those institutions, the risk of a full blown electoral violence have relatively reduced.

Speaking to Radio Ghana, a Political Science Lecturer at the University of Ghana Legon, Dr. Salifu Alidu insist that though Ghana has chalked some giant strides in its electoral procedures, the media is expected to play its gate-keeping role to help maintain the country’s peace and integrity.

The media training workshop was therefore an avenue for the NMC to re-awaken the peace consciousness of the media in the run up to the 2016 election.

Dr. Alidu expressed the regret that, some media practitioners often fail in their obligation to set the right agenda for political actors and social activists to objectively contribute to issues. Such unprofessional conducts, he warned creates unhealthy discussion as facts are distorted.

Dr. Alidu implored the media to always crosscheck facts before setting an agenda to be able to counter and discredit comments made by social commentators and panelists.

The Retired educationist, Robert Ajene who doubles as the Regional Chairman of the Media Advisory Committee, commended the invaluable contribution of the media in the promotion of peaceful election.

While, urging the media to remain neutral in the discharge of their duties, Mr Ajene also requested listeners and panelists to be objective in their delivery.

About thirty journalists drawn from the electronic and print media took part in the day’s engagement session.

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