Mr. Amihere delivering his speech during the function
Mr. Anthony Akoto Ampaw, a legal practitioner and member of the National Media Commission (NMC) has advocated that media houses which stray from the framework under the constitution which provides clear principles guiding media houses in their coverage of political elections must be sanctioned.
He entreated the NMC to ensure that media houses were monitored, assessed and made to comply with the constitutional requirement.
He was speaking here at a two-day workshop for the state-owned media and representatives of the various political parties.
Speaking on "The role and responsibility of the state-owned media: constitutional perspectives" , Mr. Akoto Ampaw reminded media practitioners of a framework under the constitution which provides clear principles which should guide them in their coverage of elections.
He pointed out that state media organisations were public institutions that must reflect the diversity of the nation as a duty and not as a favour, neither should they be subjected to any form of executive control.
"You have a duty to comply with this constitutional obligation", he stressed.
Mr. Akoto Ampaw observed that upholding the provisions of the Constitution to ensure accountability to the people would require the courage to be independent and critical in electoral reportage.
"Journalists who are actively practising politics have no place in the state-owned media", he said, emphasising that those who, while in office, go out to contest primaries, fail and come back to the media houses tarnish the image of such houses.
He said such journalists would have the tendency to distort facts in the presentation of political news and tasked the boards of the state-owned media houses to formulate policies to end the practice.
Mr. Akoto Ampaw implored state-owned media houses to give equal access to all registered political parties to deliver their programmes to the people.
"It will be against the constitution for you to project only the dominant parties and relegate the rest to the background.
All of them must be given fair opportunity to present their socio-economic and political programmes to the people through your media and you should not exercise any discretion on this matter", he stated.
He said in the same vein, divergent views and opinions of the political parties must also be published without any partiality since failure blocks the citizens rights to read or listen to such information and subsequently make the appropriate choice or decision.
Mr. Akoto Ampaw urged media houses to hold government and political parties accountable to their actions and respect the truth and accuracy of facts, adding that failure to do so could bring tension and disorder into the nation.
Mr. Kabral Blay-Amihere, chairman of the NMC, earlier, in a welcome address, entreated media houses to ensure peace and stability through their reportage.
"The whole world is watching us and we must promote a free and responsible press", he stressed.
He said the NMC has launched a media monitoring mechanism in Accra and Kumasi to ensure that media housesfollowed the tenets of the constitution regarding the practice of free, fair and equal opportunity for political parties.
"Even though there is no definite regulation to punish deviant media organisations, this should not be a licence for irresponsible journalism", he stated.
The workshop provided opportunity for the four state-owned media houses to present their plans for the coverage of Election 2012.
Among the participants were Board Members, Managing Directors, Editors, Political Editors as well as members of editorial political committees of the four state-owned media houses, namely the New Times Corporation, Graphic Communications Group, the Ghana News Agency and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.
It was under the theme "Ensuring free, fair and peaceful election 2012 - the role and responsibility of the state-owned media.