By: Isaac Amoah
As part of equipping the media to contribute its quota to ensure peaceful general election this year, a day’s training workshop has been held for editors and senior reporters within the Ashanti, Ahafo and Bono East regions.
The workshop organised by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), in collaboration with the US Embassy, was held on Friday, 9th February 2024, at Camp Martin Hotel at Femesua in Kumasi.
The training workshop for journalists reporting on Election 2024 is in line with the GJA, in collaboration with the US Embassy, Ghana, implementing a 10-month project dubbed: “Journalists For Peaceful Discourse”.
The workshop was aimed at creating peaceful platforms ahead of the December elections.
The participants drawn from the Ashanti, Ahafo and Bono East regions were taken through topics such as: Facts Checking to Counter Misinformation/Disinformation and Mal-Information in Elections Coverage, Reporting on Election Processes (What the Journalist Must Know) and Police, the Media and Elections Coverage.
Rebecca Ekpe,Mr.Benjamin Bano-Bioh,EC boss Ash and ACP,/Mr.Ankomah
Giving an overview of the programme, Rebecca Ekpe, Public Affairs Officer for GJA, who doubles as Project Lead, said “Journalists for Peaceful Discourse” was initiated following the findings of a GJA/NMC media monitoring during the December 7, 2020 elections, which revealed that incitement on media platforms topped the types of violence perpetrated during the elections.
US Embassy representative, Kevin and Mr Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo,NMC Chairman
According to her, misguided political commentary in the media has the potential of triggering violence in an already volatile society, especially in the 2024 elections.
Rebecca Ekpe said ensuring the highest journalistic standards has become more crucial as “The State of the Ghanaian Media Report 2023” by the Department of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, indicates that journalism students are graduating with basic journalistic skills that must be deepened on the job.
Kevin and Albert Kwabena Dwumfour,GJA President
She added that in ensuring the competencies of the media are built, especially on election reportage which can make or unmake a country, the GJA has been collaborating with local and international partners to bring out the best in its members.
Sharing more light on what “Journalists for Peaceful Discourse” entails, the project lead said it was a 10-month project that provided the opportunity to uphold the tenets of press freedom and freedom of expression, while promoting professionalism and empowering the media and related entities to contribute to a violence-free and credible polls in Ghana before, during and after the 2024 general election.
Rebecca Ekpe Public Affairs Officer,GJA
According to Rebecca Ekpe, “Journalists for Peaceful Discourse” is also a learning and information sharing opportunity on protecting freedom of expression and building strong electoral and democratic institutions.
Touching on how to achieve that, she disclosed that one of plans included capacity building. She added that journalists were being trained to promote violent-free and credible elections in Ghana in 2024 through well-informed and trained journalists who would use best practices for facts-based and non-partisan election reporting
A scene of participants at the workshop
The GJA/US Embassy project lead announced that since the inauguration of the project in November 2023, capacity building had so far been provided to 100 journalists/talk show hosts/local language-speaking persons trained in three zones.
With regard to the expectations of the project, Rebecca Ekpe said “Journalists for Peaceful Discourse” would help the GJA to:
• Promote long-term learning for participants to contribute to uphold freedom of expression and credible polls.
• Encourage information sharing among journalists and with election-related entities to better inform the work of the Electoral Commission of Ghana and related entities, with the view to promoting freedom of expression for violence-free and credible polls.
• Create platforms to share best practices on elections coverage among journalists.
Kingsley E Hope,Ash.GJA Chairman and Richmond Frimpong of Oyerepa TV
She concluded that “Journalists for Peaceful Discourse” is about protecting press freedom, while promoting violent-free and credible polls through peaceful media platforms ahead of the 2024 Polls.
The speakers were Mr. Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC);
Mr. Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, GJA President; US Embassy representative/Press Attach, Kevin J. Brosnahan.
Others were Mr. Kingsley E. Hope, the Ashanti Regional GJA Chairman; Dr. Daniel Nkrumah, Communications Lecturer, KNUST;
Mr. Benjamin Bano-Bioh, the Ashanti Regional Electoral Commission (EC) Director, as well as ACP/Mr. George Ankomah, Ashanti South Police Regional Commander.