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Media urged to promote national cohesion ahead of elections

Wa, Nov. 14, GNA – Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister has appealed to the media to promote national cohesion and peace-building before, during, and after the December 7 elections.

By this, he admonished the media to desist from carrying reports that would divide and threaten the peace of the country, saying, “It is a truism that the media can make or destroy this country”, therefore the need for the media to be circumspect in their reportage.

Dr Bin Salih made the appeal to the media in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Gilbert Nuuri-teg, the Regional Coordinating Director during the opening of a workshop on election and security for regional stakeholders towards a peaceful 2020 general elections.

The programme, a collaborative venture between Aman Centre for Democracy, Security, and Counter-Terrorism in Africa (ACDS-Africa) and Jatikay Center for Human Security and Peace-building is part of nationwide capacity building activities for relevant stakeholders including the media, security agencies, political parties, chiefs and youth groups towards peaceful 2020 elections.

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Dr Bin Salih noted that the training would undoubtedly contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 16 (SDG 16), which was aimed at ensuring peace, justice, and strong accountable democratic institutions for security, stability, and national cohesion.

He said Ghana had a record of holding several successful Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in the Fourth Republic without any major incident, adding that this had no doubt earned the country respect from the international community.

“Even in cases where there were issues with the election results, the aggrieved parties and individuals resorted to the law courts and not violence to resolve their grievances”, he said and stressed that they needed to sustain the record.

The Regional Minister whilst admonishing relevant stakeholders to play their various roles effectively to ensure successful and peaceful elections, also assured that the Regional Security Council would put in place adequate security measures to ensure peaceful political campaigns leading to peaceful polls in the region on December 7.

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Mr Moses Jatuat, Director, Research and Policy Analysis, ACDS-Africa, noted that issues of elections were becoming a serious threat to the security and civility of nations across the globe of which Ghana was not an exception.

He, therefore, added that efforts such as the training of stakeholders allowed them to redouble efforts towards consolidating the democratic gains chalked by the nation.

Delivering a presentation on the topic “Role of the media in Security and Peace-building during elections”, Mr Adib Saani, Executive Director, Jatikay Center for Human Security and Peace-building admonished the media to be very mindful in conflict-sensitive reporting to protect social cohesion.

He said the practice of engaging in sensationalism to sell had the potential to cause social disintegration and therefore encouraged media houses to prioritize the general good of society over the interest of the media house.

“When wrong, eat the humble pie, retract and apologize”, Mr Saani advised.

“In this election, accuracy, fairness, balanced and responsible reportage is highly important and the media must therefore desist from relying on unofficial sources for election results adding that verification of information on social media was extremely key to avoid misinformation”.

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