US Embassy partners GJA to promote peaceful elections

By Yussif Ibrahim

Fumesua (Ash), Jan.11, GNA – The United States Embassy is supporting the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to implement a 10-month project aimed at promoting peace before, during and after the 2024 general election.

Dubbed: “Journalists for Peaceful Discourse”, the project seeks to create peaceful platforms within the media space where issues would be discussed dispationately.

Selected journalists across the country are being trained to promote violence-free and credible elections under the project, which is on the theme: “Promoting Peaceful Journalistic Media Platforms Ahead of Elections 2024.”

One such training has been held at Fumesua in the Ashanti Region, attended by media personnel drawn from Ashanti, Ahafo, Bono, and Bono East Regions, forming zone three of the nationwide training.

Representatives from the GJA, US Embassy, National Media Commission (NMC), Ghana Police Service, Electoral Commission, National Democratic Congress (NDC), and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were also on hand to contribute to the discussions.

Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, GJA President, said the project was going to be a game changer in the way journalists approached election coverage in the country.

“It is our hope that the objective of this project will help shape the media system and further reduce the excesses to the barest minimum, he noted.

He said the GJA believed that freedom of expression did not only mean allowing people to speak but also ensuring responsibility to protect the very space used for free speech.

“With the proliferation of social media where all manner of hate speeches, misinformation, and disinformation are churned out, there’s no doubt that this project will help sanitise the system,” Mr Dwumfour said.

He expressed grave concern over recent attacks on journalists in the line of duty and called on relevant authorities to take urgent steps to halt the barbaric trend.

The GJA President made a passionate appeal to the diplomatic community, especially the US Embassy, to call out politicians with the penchant to attacking journalists to deter others from doing same.

Mr Yaw Boadu Ayeboadu, the Chairman, NMC, said although the use of subterfuge or unorthodox means in gathering information was acceptable under certain circumstances there could also be consequences in the process.

“Since all things cannot be equal at all times, there will be the necessity to go undercover to access information but let nobody be deceived that when you enter by the window when the door is opened one will be enshrouded,” the veteran Journalist cautioned.

“When one is compelled to use an alternative acceptable means of news gathering, one must act with ingenuity so that one is not exposed.”

He reminded journalists of their obligation to serve the people with diligence, commitment and selflessness and to be truthful, factual and objective.

They must safeguard the public interest and hold it sacred above all other interests, he added.

Mr Kevin Brosnahan, Press Attaché, US Embassy, said Ghana had a strong history of peaceful elections and transitions of power, and that the Embassy was looking forward to a free and fair election devoid of violence this year.

He said democracy could be fragile, hence the importance for steps to be taken to protect it, adding that journalism was critical in the protection of Ghana’s democratic institutions.

Supporting the GJA to fight election misinformation was part of the friendship and support for democracy and Ghanaians, he noted.