At a workshop organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa(MFWA) on Thursday, July 30, 2020, political parties and the media, were urged to champion the cause of developmental ideas rather than divisive, tribal slurs and stereotyping, and hate speeches as the nation inches towards election 2020.
The workshop saw three_different presentations which indicated the various degrees of harm than good, insults and indecent expressions on the political fortunes of a party, person and the country.
Making the first presentation on the Impact of Insults and Indecent Expressions on Political Fortunes,the Senior Lecturer, Political Science Department, University of Ghana, Dr. Siedu Mahama Alidu, underscored the need for political actors to eschew derogatory comments since it has the tendencies of disstablising a rather stable nation.
Considering the cost re_building, he urged political actors to champion their ideas than bigotry.
Presenting the second presentation on the Media’s Role in Curtailing Hate Speech and Indecent Expressions During Elections, the Faculty of Foreign Languages Education and Communication, University of Education, Winneba, Prof. Kwame Karikari, has reminded the media of its power to cause confusion in society and therefore urged that they help in curtailing hate speeches and indecent expressions, before, during and after elections 2020.
According to him, the MFWA, has since 2012 general elections, executed an election c communication project designed to enable an issue_driven democratic polity and electioneering process in Ghana and the evidence, he noted suggest what he termed a slow steady effort amongst stakeholders to embrace a decorous and issue_oriented elections campaigns culture.
He disclosed that 2012 elections campaign language monitoring project reported a total of 509 indecent expressions recorded on 2,850 programmes from 31 Radio stations across the Ghana.
According to him, the lessons from the 2012 elections experience inspired a renewed commitment by MFWA to further carry out a similar project for the 2016 elections with stakeholder engagements and capacity building workshops for journalists, political party communicators, logistics support to some radio stations, the production of electoral communication guide and a monitoring exercise to name and shame media institutions and party functionaries that peddled insults and Indecent speech during election 2016 election campaigns.
At the end, he revealed that 16, 006 programmes were monitored on 70 radio stations with a total of 464 terms being coded as carrying insulting or incendiary contents.
He added that the 2020 edition of the electoral communication guide(ECG) was part of programmes to further consolidate gain made in the past for the 2020 elections.
At the end of the one_day workshop, parties including the National Communication Member at the NDC, Mr. Akwesi Mensah, pledged the party’s readiness to run a campaign based on ideas and insults.
But edged that immediate punitive actions be taken against any political activist who foments trouble to serve as deterrent to others.
On behalf of the Progressive People’s Party, the Director of Communication, Mr. Felix Mantey indicated that his party which is noted for birthing new ideas would continue champion a campaign of ideas.
Written by Prosper Kwaku Selassy