Editorial: Election 2024; GJA to crack the whip on unprofessional journalists

With the 2024 General Elections just around the corner, it is incumbent upon journalists to display ethical reportage so as to safeguard Ghana’s democratic credentials. Last week, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) served notice that it would not shield its members who engage in unprofessional acts in the lead up to the 2024 elections.

The President of the GJA, Albert Kwabena Dwumfour’s caution comes after the Association and the National Media Commission’s monitoring report found that the media was used to incite violence during the 2020 elections.

He was speaking at the launch of an Election 2024 Project, aimed at training journalists on election reportage to promote peace before, during and after the elections. Mr. Dwumfuor urged media practitioners to eschew all forms of reporting that had the tendency to incite violence.

For instance, in a lead up to the 2020 elections, a TV station called Hijrah TV News reported that security forces had “stormed” Asawasi Constituency, in Kumasi, and issued warnings to the local people.

However, the information turned out to be false, as it was simply the military taking part in a meeting with the local elders, religious figures, political parties’ representatives and others about holding peaceful election on 7 December, 2020.

According to Mr. Dwumfour, freedom of expression does not only mean allowing people to speak, but also ensuring responsibility and reiterated that the GJA does not, and will not, condone unprofessional conduct. He added that they would not shield or provide cover for the defiance of professionalism.

At a time when the role of journalism in shaping public opinion is more critical than ever, it is commendable that the GJA has taken a firm stance against unprofessional acts by its members in the lead up to the 2024 elections.

The Chronicle believes that responsible journalism is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy and ensures that the citizens are well-informed, enabling them to make educated decisions.

By serving notice that it will not shield its members who engage in unprofessional acts, the GJA is sending a powerful message that it prioritises responsible journalism. This commitment will help maintain the integrity of the profession, and ensure that accurate and unbiased information reaches the public.

The GJA’s decision to hold its members accountable for their actions during the 2024 elections is a significant step towards promoting accountability, setting a precedent that unprofessional behavior will not be tolerated and making journalists answerable for their actions.

This move will help build public confidence in the media and foster a culture of professionalism.

Also, The Chronicle is strongly aware that ethical standards are the bedrock of journalism and the GJA’s commitment to not shielding members who engage in unprofessional acts is a clear demonstration of its dedication to preserving journalistic ethics.

Upholding these standards is crucial to ensure that journalists act with integrity, honesty and fairness. By doing so, the GJA is safeguarding the public’s right to receive accurate and unbiased information, which is essential for a well-functioning democracy.

This will help prevent biased coverage and ensure that journalists provide balanced perspectives to the public. By doing so, the Association is contributing to a more informed electorate and fostering a democratic environment where diverse viewpoints are valued.

This commitment by the GJA is not only strengthens the association’s reputation but also reinforces the vital role of journalism in fostering a vibrant and informed democracy.


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