The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa, has highlighted the critical role of journalists in the upcoming 2024 elections.
According to her, it behoves media practitioners to be responsible in the discharge of their duties during the period to safeguard the nation’s democracy and national security.
She made these assertions while delivering the keynote address at the 27th edition of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Awards which was themed: “Leveraging Media Freedom to Sustain the Democratic and Security Architecture: The Litmus Test of Election 2024.”
“The exercise of your power and freedom in the lead-up to the 2024 election could potentially make or break our nation’s cohesion. This is a sobering truth.”
“Therefore, your commitment to ensuring the peace and security of our country as we go to the polls in December 2024, should go beyond mere rhetoric to practicing responsible journalism,” she said on Sunday.
Madam Mensa further highlighted the significance of the 2024 election.
In her view, since it involves an open contest with no incumbent seeking re-election, the stakes are high adding that “the 2024 elections will be more than a democratic exercise, it will be a test of our nation’s resilience.”
It is on the back of this that she asked journalists to be circumspect in their coverage.
She acknowledged that journalists possess the power to reach the ears, eyes, and hearts of the citizenry and are a stone’s throw from millions of homes across the country. Thus, it is of utmost importance for journalists to be aware of the delicate balance required between media freedom, democracy, and national security.
Madam Mensa emphasised the weight of responsibility that journalists carry, describing them as the Fourth Estate, not merely a facet of the nation’s democracy, but its bedrock.
“You’re the beacon of truth, you’re the guidance of transparency, and you’re the vanguards of freedom and catalyst for informing and shaping public debate. With your role and the nation’s support and protection comes great responsibility.
In all, 31 awards were presented on the night, with the Multimedia Group picking multiple awards including the overall journalist of the year.
Erastus Asare Donkor of Joy News, Joy FM and Luv FM, won the covetous award with his works on the devastating effects of illegal mining that have ignited national conversations.