Owners, directors, managers, heads of programs and news editors as well as media practitioners in the northern have signed a post-election commitment to use their medium to ensure peace during the transitional period in Ghana.
The owners signed the commitment at a day meeting organised by the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) and the Regional Early Warning Response Group (REEWARG) under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The commitment was signed in Tamale under the aegis of WANEP to serve as a preventive tool to forestall any political disagreement between the various political parties in the region as the new government prepares to take over the reign of governance in Ghana.
In addition, the move was to ensure that supporters of both parties in the just ended general election co-exist peacefully in the region. Media practitioners and owners of radio stations in particular are expected to adhere to ethics governing the media industry.
They are also expected to carefully scrutinize the concerns of aggrieved supporters of the major political parties before broadcasting those concerns.
The commitment was a direct response to the post election activities of supporters of victorious parties who go around seizing some public properties such as toilets and bracing of some agencies perceived to be manned by their opponents.
WANEP commended all stakeholders for their efforts in ensuring that the northern region remains peaceful contrary to the expectation of many that the region will be the epic center of post election violence.
Both WANEP and REEWARG said the peaceful nature the people in the northern region conducted themselves during the elections was largely the result of the realization of media practitioners on the need to use their medium to preach peaceful coexistence. The region currently has about 25 commercial and community radio stations.
Mr. Albert Yelyong, the National Network Coordinator of WANEP, read the four point commitment on behalf of owners, directors, heads of programs, managers, producers, editors of the various media houses in the northern region, and pleaded to owners to live to up to the expectations of every citizen by avoiding churning out information that could create problems.
The owners will, among things, ensure the content of their news and programs do not inflame passions. Ensure that their media staff exhibit maximum professional ethics and are conflict sensitive during and after the transition period. Media owners were also told not to allow politicians, political activist and other conflict profiteers to use their medium outlets as conduits to foment trouble.
Media houses are expected to collaborate with other relevant groups and institutions to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, to create a viable political environment and to pledge to monitor their conduct and name and shame or correct anyone who violates these commitments.