Sir Sam Jonah, the Executive Chairman, Jonah Capital, an equity fund, has advised media practitioners to be focused in fighting COVID-19 and not sacrifice it for the impending elections.
“Elections should not be seen as a matter of life or death, the media must not relent on their professional duties, but see the battle of COVID-19 as more important than elections”, he said.
Sir Jonah gave the advice on Wednesday when he launched this year’s 25th Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Media Awards in Accra on the theme, “COVID-19 and Credible Presidential and Parliamentary Elections: The Media Factor”.
He said the country was experiencing a political environment with too much tension from the political parties, and tasked the leadership of the GJA to sanitise the system to ensure responsible journalism.
“Bad journalism has resulted in conflicts in some African countries like Rwanda.
It is the duty of the Association to guard against any tendencies that can destabilise the country through intemperate language during the elections,” Sir Jonah said.
He encouraged the media to be firm, objective and demonstrate courage in the discharge of its responsibilities for peaceful polls in December.
Sir Jonah said the country had peaceful elections and it was imperative to continue with the feat to consolidate the gains.
Mr Affail Monney, the President of the GJA asked the media to use its platform and persuasive power to shape the complexion of the campaign and advised them to be fair and allow the sense of objectivity and professionalism, dominate the election coverage.
He said the GJA was running a series of programmes on electoral reporting for journalists across the country with support from the US Embassy, with the Greater Accra region, Eastern, Volta, Ashanti and Bono regions covered so far, while the rest would start in August.
Mr Monney said the GJA was also undertaking a Star Ghana sponsored project to fight political vigilantism, adding that with the support of a non-governmental organization, the Association had organized a nation-wide training in fake news.
This, he explained was designed to help contain the “virus of content and digital fakery,” which posed a threat to quality journalism and decent politicking.
Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, the Chief Executive Officer, Volta River Authority (VRA), the titled sponsor for the awards, said GJA’s efforts to maintain higher professional standards, even in unusual times must be applauded and supported.
“As key partners and vehicles for national development, our two institutions have the common objective to improve the economic and social development of the country.
It is a strategic necessity for the VRA and GJA to influence public policy, build and promote national development”, he said.
Mr Antwi-Darkwa said the VRA would continue to support the GJA awards to uphold the tenets, ethics, values and standards of journalism and shape the course of national development.