The Chairman of the NMC, Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere
The National Media Commission (NMC) has called on state-owned media institutions to draw a clear distinction between the coverage of official government businesses and political party activities in the run-up to the December 7 polls.
More often than not, it said state-owned media institutions gave more coverage to the activities of political parties in government to the detriment of the minority political parties.
As a result, the NMC is developing a monitoring mechanism to check state-owned media institutions that renege on their responsibility to give fair and equitable coverage to all political parties during electioneering periods.
It has also included in its new publication titled “Guidelines for fair and equitable coverage of political parties by the state-owned media” clauses to guide state-owned media institutions to draw a distinction between government functions and the activities of political parties in incumbent government.
The facilitator of a validation exercise on the publication, Prof Audrey Gadzekpo, urged state-owned media institution to ensure neutrality in advertising space and slots for all political parties ahead of the December election.
“Each media institution should constitute an in-house committee to meet periodically to vet all advertisements emanating from political parties, presidential candidates and other stakeholders,” she said adding that “the content of advertisements should conform to standards of good taste and decency and should not be offensive, abusive or libelous”.
She urged state-owned media institutions to endeavour to make adequate arrangements to facilitate the work of their reporters in order to safeguard their independence.
Prof Gadzekpo called on state-owned media to avoid bias or unwitting manipulation of reports of opinion polls and urged them to always publish the names of persons or organizations who conduct opinion polls as well as the institutions that sponsor such polls.
The Chairman of the NMC, Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, bemoaned the poor standard of journalism in counting in recent times and indicated that “the real solution to ensuring greater media accountability and regulation may require legislative reforms which the NMC was considering to ensure that it fulfills its constitutional mandate of taking appropriate measures to promote the highest journalistic standards in the media”.
He said political parties were partly to be blamed for taking undue advantage of the constitutional guarantees for free speech and free press and urged all stakeholders in the media fraternity to contribute to solving the problem.
Ambassador Kabral urge all those who used the media platform, from serial callers to spokespersons of political parties and social commentators to exhibit fairness, objectivity, truthfulness, tolerance as well as respect for dissenting views in their discourse.