Superintendent Stephen Tenkorang, the Bono Regional Commander of the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) says the nation looks up to the media to uphold professional standards to ensure a peaceful Election 2020.
He emphasised the Police and other security services had the capacity and were determined to create a peaceful atmosphere for the smooth conduct of the Election 2020, devoid of intimidation and hooliganism.
But, he expressed the fear that unprofessional media work would have the potential to heighten tension, charged the atmosphere, and cause election violence.
Interacting with selected News Editors at a forum held at Abesim, near Sunyani, Supt. Tenkorang said election violence was unacceptable and the existing Police-media relationship ought to be strengthened to help easily identify and tackle once and for all factors that contributed to election-related violence.
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) organised the forum, as part of a 14-month project the Association is implementing with support from STAR-Ghana Foundation.
Titled “No to political vigilantism and Electoral Violence in Ghana”, the project aimed at contributing to national discourse in disbanding political vigilantism and eliminating electoral violence in Ghana.
It further seeks to enhance the capacity of media in conflict-sensitive reporting, given its crucial role as one of the key gatekeepers in election management and reportage in Ghana.
Supt. Tenkorang indicated that the Bono Region had no election hotspots, but few flashpoints had been identified, and the Police would require media collaboration to ensure that tensions were not heightened in those flashpoints at the heat of the electioneering.
He appealed to the leadership of the GJA to help flush out miscreants and unprofessional media practitioners who had invaded the media fraternity and soiling the image of the profession.
Dr. Roland Affail Monney, the President of the GJA indicated Journalists also had their political parties of choice but cautioned them not to allow their voting pattern to affect their professional work and standards.
He emphasised that journalism and politics drove development, and the media must ensure that they avoid tendencies that could scale-up tensions in the political landscape by ensuring that they sieve stories and design useful programmes that would build society.
“We have professional, ethical, and godly responsibility to save Ghana from nation wreckers because political parties are like Suarez, and they want to score goals through fair or foul means”, he said.
“Our interest as journalists must not be who wins Election 2020, but our interest must be on how the general election would be free, fair, credible and peaceful”, the GJA President stated.
Dr. John Ekow Otoo, the Deputy Director, Public Health at the Bono Regional Health Directorate commended the GJA and the local media for their collaboration with the GHS so far in helping to stem the spread of the COVID-19 in the region.
He said because COVID-19 was novel, signs, symptoms, and mode of transmission kept on changing and called on the media to intensify public education so that the frequent use of sanitizers, handwashing with soap under running water, and social distancing protocols would not relapse.
Dr. Otoo said the region had scale-up precautionary measures and heightened surveillance at the various borders to stem the spread of the virus disease.