French ambassador underscores the indispensable role of the media in the last election
Within the context of long-standing relations between France and Ghana and in keeping with its unwavering commitment towards the consolidation of good governance and the rule of law in Ghana, the French embassy in 2016, provided financial support to the tune of 52 000 GHC (12 000 €) towards an initiative labelled “Promoting Decent Language and Issue-based Campaigning for Peaceful Elections in Ghana”.
The initiative was the brainchild of the Media Foundation for West Africa. This organization is the largest non-governmental entity dedicated towards the promotion and defense of the right to freedom of expression of all persons, particularly the media and human rights defenders in West Africa.
To help in its implementation, a group known as the Eminent Media Persons for Peace which was made up of distinguished personalities on the Ghanaian media landscape was formed. This group met journalists, radio talk show hosts and several owners of radio stations in selected regions across the country in order to sensitize and create awareness on the rules pertaining to democratic, tolerant, unprovocative and non-violent political dialogue in the public domain.
Indeed, it goes without saying that at a point in time, there hung cloud of uncertainty as to the outcome of the Ghanaian general elections and the sustainability of peace thereafter in the country. Therefore having taken into consideration the influence of the media, especially via the radio in consolidating or jeopardizing peace as happened in the case of the infamous 1994 Rwandan genocide, these efforts were aimed at improving professional standards and promoting independent journalism in Ghana in a bid to ensure peace before, during and after the election.
During the forum, the French ambassador to France, His Excellency François Pujolas congratulated Ghana for another seamless transfer of political power which he believes has further deepened the country’s gaining democracy.
He was of the view that this was made possible in part due to the important role of the media in encouraging abuse-free language during the period. “I have no doubts that this language monitoring campaign, including statements and meeting with stakeholders has played a key role in the result of peaceful elections” he said. He was also quick to encourage media houses to exhibit even better professionalism in subsequent years. “I believe that there are no democratic elections without free and pluralistic Media, but the Media must themselves exercise self-restraint and show a sense of responsibility” he emphasized.
He added that France along with other donor partners is equally proud of its involvement and collaboration with the media to promote peaceful political discourse.
The event also saw the presentation of awards to several media houses which distinguished themselves in the promotion of decorous speech and issue-based programs during the electioneering period.