By Samuel Duodu, Fiapre.
THE Electoral Commission’s Director responsible for the Brong Ahafo Region, Nana Amba Eyiaba I, has urged media practitioners to update their knowledge on the electoral laws and processes, to enable them educate the electorate, and ensure peaceful, free and fair polls on December 7.
She observed that the media had a crucial role to play in ensuring a free and fair election and, therefore, entreated journalists to avoid speculation and the announcement of unconfirmed results, when the polls came to a close on that day.
“As a matter of fact, all media practitioners covering the polls should always cross-check and check their information with the Electoral Commission (EC), before going public and by so doing we would ensure peaceful polls,” she stressed.
Nana Eyiaba, who is also the Krontihemaa of the Oguaa Traditional Area in the Central Region and a former Board Member of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), said this at a day’s capacity building workshop organised by the EC on election reporting for media practitioners in the Brong Ahafo Region, at Fiapre in the Sunyani West District on Tuesday.
According to the Commission Member, it did not take only the EC to ensure a free and fair election, but the responsibility of all stakeholders in the electoral process, especially the media by providing accurate information about the electoral process.
Nana Eyiaba, therefore, appealed to media practitioners to be circumspect in their reportage saying, “Be fair-minded in your reportage of candidates and political parties and be proactive in bringing the electorate useful and timely information to enable them to make informed decisions.”
She gave the assurance that the EC had put in place adequate mechanisms to take care of every problem that might arise leading to transparency and fairness to all in the election.
Responding to a question as to whether media practitioners would be allowed to vote on the special voting day, December 2, earmarked by the EC for security personnel and other essential staff, Nana Eyiaba said as at now the special dispensation was for security personnel who would be deployed to maintain law and order at the various polling stations.
She, however, said media personnel who would be covering the election,through their various organisations could apply to find out whether the EC would allow such journalists to vote on that special day. She said as at now, there were no plans by the EC for media practitioners to vote on the special day.
Mr Samuel Ntow, a Deputy Director, Research and Monitoring at the EC Headquarters in Accra, called on political parties contesting the December 7 election to select their polling agents from the communities where they know the electorate, to ensure a peaceful process.
He reiterated the assurance that the EC had in place, an inbuilt mechanism that would check any problem that would arise in the wake of the December 7, polls and urged the media to be circumspect in their reportage on the election day in order to ensure a peaceful polls.