The Electoral Commission of Ghana has hinted of plans to absorb the cost of media accreditations for election reporting.
This comes on the back of an appeal by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) for the commission to take up that cost.
Addressing the media during a courtesy call on the commission by the GJA, the Chairperson of the commission, Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa, said the commission would take up the cost of accreditation to enable journalists to cover elections from all corners of the country.
The impact of elections, according to her, was very costly and hence absorbing such a minimal cost should not be a challenge.
Mrs Mensa also indicated plans to hold orientation and capacity building workshops for journalists in election reportage. That, she said, would provide an avenue for information and also help journalists to familiarise themselves with all rules and laws governing the election processes, as well as report effectively and allay the fears of the public.
She said the commission would institute a partnership with the media to ensure transparency at all levels of the elections.
The chairperson lauded the media for its role in ensuring transparent and credible election processes, especially in 2016. She also charged the GJA to put in place guidelines that would deal with sensationalism and also urged journalists to cross-check every piece of information that they received and be fair to all subjects of the news.
Mrs Mensa bemoaned instances where individuals working with the commission and sometimes the commission itself being accused of rigging elections without evidence.
She further pledged the commission’s commitment towards ensuring incident-free electoral processes.
For his part, the President of the GJA, Mr Roland Affail Monney, welcomed the decision of the commission to absorb the cost of accreditation. According to him, no price tag could be put on the job of journalists during elections.
He tasked media houses to put in place measures that would afford fair and equal opportunities for all political parties in their reportage and make facilities available for the presentation or expression of opinions and views by political parties and candidates.
Mr Monney said the GJA was willing to collaborate with the EC to ensure a free, fair and credible election come 2020.
He proposed a composition of a team made up of officials of the GJA and the EC that would handle guidelines on electoral reporting and electoral laws respectively.
Mr Monney said the GJA would continue to train its members on electoral reporting.
He mentioned that the GJA intended to revise its guidelines on electoral reporting and would need funding to cater for that.
He further extended an invitation to the chairperson to be the guest speaker for this year’s GJA awards.