Journalists have been urged to pay attention to sensitive issues in their reportage as the 2020 general elections beckon.
"Elections 2020 is approaching and looking at issues, fall-outs from the elections in 2016, there were pockets of violence here and there. Even though there's not been full-blown violence within our country, we feel that still there is a need for us to look at the issue of peace and conflict-sensitive reporting carefully," Research Analyst at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, Mawusi Yaw Dumenu has said.
According to him, stakes are too high for 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary to be taken for granted. "If we are able to impress on journalists and give them training on how to report on issues that have to do with conflict, we believe that we would be able to help to tackle some of the issues that will spring up during the electoral cycle that have triggers for conflict, he added.
Mr. Dumenu was speaking Friday, at a training for journalists on conflict sensitivity reporting and peacebuilding. The training was put together by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development and the United Nations Development Programme.
The focus of the training is on tackling the issues that could trigger violence before, during and after 2020 polls.
The initiative is supported by a Multi-stakeholder Platform for Peace and Governance.
It comprises the National Peace Council, Office of the Senior Minister, National Planning Commission, among others.
Media personnel for the training are expected to generate and implement ideas on peacebuilding initiatives, especially, on election violence and political vigilantism.
Two of the sessions of the programme have taken place for selected journalists in Accra and Kumasi.
Participants from Oti, Bono, Bono East, Eastern, Greater Accra and Ashanti regions. Others were also drawn from Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West, Savannah and the Ahafo regions.
Ghana Journalists Association is happy about the collaboration for which it pledges commitment to promote peace in Ghana.
"The Ghana Journalists Association is very much ready to partner with the UNDP, CDD, NPC [National Peace Council] and other stakeholders in nurturing the Peace and Governance Platform Initiative, while working with the various media houses, both public and private on how to marry our commercial, public and social responsibilities and interest to pursue an agenda on conflict-sensitive reporting and peacebuilding," Ashanti Regional Chairman, Kingsley Hope stated.
National Network Coordinator of West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), Albert Yelyang, lauded the media for their role in the successful conduct of elections over the years.
Mr. Yelyang, however, wants the media to manage excesses by focusing on the promotion of peace and development.
"The media have done well within the sphere that it finds itself; within the law. It has been able to manage situations but I think that sometimes there are excesses which the media have to guard against."