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The Gateway For Authentic Election Coverage

District level elections to be held in Jasikan, Guan Districts on December 19

Politics provides a great deal of natural content for television news programming. During political campaigns and elections, national networks, as well as many private stations, devote substantial amount of time in covering these activities. Elections constitute a basic challenge to the media, putting its impartiality and objectivity to the test. The task of the media, especially national media outlets, is not and should not function as a mouthpiece for the ruling party or particular candidate. Its basic role is to enlighten and educate the public and act as a neutral and objective platform to accommodate all views.

Public Service Broadcasting was founded on a belief that still holds true in most of the world: the private sector alone cannot guarantee pluralism in broadcasting. The trouble is that public media have largely failed to do that too. In many countries, the advent of private broadcasting has made governments even more determined to cling onto editorial control of the public broadcaster. Going into Election 2020 in Ghana, all eyes were on Ghana Broadcasting Corporation to fulfill its mantra as a station with a trusted voice for all Ghanaians. Throughout the broadcast era, television networks consider Election Day as their most visible and important broadcast every four years. Most stations unveil new equipment and visual imagery all in effort to capture the wider audience. Election Day coverage is thus the newsroom golden hour. Election reporting is a major test of media ethics. If opinion is free (and in particular for those media that have adopted a clear political preference), facts are sacred. Honesty in reporting is essential. It requires fairness, the permanent battle for accuracy, the rejection of manipulation, dirty tricks and incitement to hatred as well as a keen sense of responsibility to keep the electoral process open, peaceful, free and fair.

GBC News Election 2020 team has done a fantastic job from this angle. In these times of modern technology, humans have become very visual-based persons. Therefore, it came as no surprise that GBC News incorporated this principle of television by engaging the viewers with new color scheme for the graphic design to complement the new LED video wall, an innovation adopted by the newsroom. Election Day reportage demands an extensive research and GBC News correspondents dotted all over the sixteen regions did not disappoint, as they gave detailed reports of the constituencies they reported from. The reports were nuanced with appropriate sights and sound combined with well-researched and accurate narrative of political history of the constituency concerned. The positive comments on various social media confirmed that truly GBC News correspondents were apt to the task.

Elections correspond to periods of heightened media coverage and reporting. With each political party wanting to lead the country, these transitional times are often wrought with competitive language, rising tensions, and occasional political disgruntles, sometimes resulting in even violence and conflicts. As a state broadcaster, GBC News played crucial role by showing professionalism in its coverage. Whereas some private stations were busily putting unsubstantiated reports of violence and alleged ballot stuffing on air just to be seen as the first to break the news, GBC News was committed to getting the right information before disseminating to its trusted and cherished audience. Balanced reporting provides news clearly and impartially so that the public is able to draw its own inferences and this was what GBC News gave its audience during the 2020 election coverage. The station was committed to delivering thorough, verified, and unbiased information and this has enhanced its ratings in Election 2020 coverage. In some media systems and outlets, professionalism is defined on the basis of absence of partisan and bias in reports and GBC News being a state broadcaster where opinions over the years have aligned them to the ruling party or government has finally been erased due to the balanced Election Day coverage. Kudos to the staff of GBC News for a well-covered election 2020.

Written By: Atsu Kuadey –
(Media Monitor)

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