November polls 'Let the hinterland matter in your coverage' – EC to media

The EC said a vibrant media coverage of the remote communities would be of tremendous help to the EC as it would be notified of the challenges across the nation to enable it to quickly mobilise to address them.

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The Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) has appealed to the media to prioritise the hinterlands in the coverage of issues related to the November 7 general election.

The Commissioner in-charge of Upper West Region, Hajia Sa-adatu Maida, made the appeal at a capacity building workshop for media practitioners in the region on election reportage and the highlights of Constitutional Instrument (C. I.) 91.

She said vibrant media coverage of the remote communities would be of tremendous help to the EC as it would be notified of the challenges across the nation to enable it to quickly mobilise to address them.

“The focus on the urban centres is too much and I want to plead that this time round you try and focus more on the remote areas to so that we can speedily attend to their problems too,” she said.

Hajia Sa-adatu, however, urged the media to avoid mischief in their reportage but rather they should report with the intention of helping to correct or enhance the electoral process.

This way, she said, the media would be contributing towards a free, fair, transparent and peaceful election that would further enhance Ghana’s democratic credentials.

Hajia Sa-adatu also appealed to the media to guard against the declaration of election results in both the Presidential and Parliamentary contests.

She noted that the declaration of results was the sole prerogative of the EC and not the media or any institution, organisation or political party.

She said the practice of declaring results ahead of the EC, apart from being unlawful, also stood the chance of throwing the country into chaos.

“You can report the provisional figures from the polling stations and constituencies as they are, but you must try as much as possible to desist from declaring that candidate A or B has won the election when the EC has not officially said so,” she emphasised.

On the purpose of the training, Hajia Sa-adatu said it was important to always keep the media abreast with activities of the EC to enable them to understand and help educate the public.

This has even become more important, especially when sections of the  public continued to question the credibility of the current voters’ register based on statistical inconsistencies.

“It is therefore crucial that in an effort to address this concern and ensure that the voters register do not become the focus of dispute in the 2016 general elections, the EC has accepted to undertake a validation of the register as part of the exhibition exercise,” she said.

Hence, the EC with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), organised the training workshop to update media practitioners in the Region.

Participants were taken through various topics such as, “The Role of Media in Elections”, “Election Monitoring and Observation”, “Election Language/Terminologies”, and “Public Election Regulations (Voter Registration) C. I. 91”.

Hajia Sa-adatu said the image of Ghana as a beacon of democracy in the Sub-region must be maintained, and this could only be achieved through fair and balanced reportage.

Source: GNA

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