Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, United Nations Secretary–General’s Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) has charged the media to ensure that Ghana emerged from the December polls “shinning without bullets.”
“The Black Star should be the winner after the polls and you, the media practitioners, must champion this campaign of ballots without bullets,” he said.
Dr Chambas said this when he interacted with senior journalists and editors at the International Press Centre in Accra ahead of the December polls.
He urged the media to be the watchdog against hate speech as that could trigger reactions and cause violence.
Dr Chambas said the security situation in the Sahel region was threatening, with nearly 100 people killed in the East of Nigeria recently, and underscored the need for Ghana not to let down its guard for terrorist attacks.
He said expectations were high for the country, having conducted credible and fair elections for seven times, and reiterated the call on the media not to give voice to hate speech and focus on ideas and perspectives of candidates.
Dr Chambas said mobilising resources for a national election was a huge task for the Electoral Commission (EC) and asked the citizenry and stakeholders to respect electoral laws whiles the Commission played its role as a neutral referee for credible polls.
He said the goal was to build a nation based on rule of law and accountability and the media must rise to the occasion and promote the “Ghana first” agenda.
Dr Chambas said it was also important for the media and all stakeholders to uphold the COVID-19 protocols before, during and after the General Election to avoid a possible second wave of spread of the virus.
Mr Roland Affail Monney, the President of the Ghana Journalists Association, described Ghana’s election as the “mother of all elections in West Africa with high voltage tension,” and charged the media to do the needful.
“The hellish happenings in peace deficient countries should be a lesson for us not to induce violence and desist from promoting hate speech,” he said.
“Let’s watch the medium…language shapes behaviour.”
Mr Monney said the Association had built the capacity of practitioners to ensure they were not agents of destruction but of peace.