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UNESCO Trains Journalists to Counter Hate Speech and Misinformation Ahead of 2024 Elections

UNESCO Trains Journalists to Counter Hate Speech and Misinformation Ahead of 2024 Elections
Image Source: (UNiGhana, on X) UNESCO Trains Journalists to Counter Hate Speech and Misinformation Ahead of 2024 Elections
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By Seli Baisie

Ahead of Ghana’s 2024 general election, UNESCO Ghana has organized a two-day workshop aimed at enhancing the capacity of media professionals to counter hate speech and misinformation on social media.

The training, held at the Best Western Premier Hotel in Accra, focused on equipping journalists with essential skills to ensure peaceful and credible elections.

Day one of the workshop covered critical topics such as misinformation, disinformation, hate speech, and violence against journalists.

UNESCO Trains Journalists to Counter Hate Speech and Misinformation Ahead of 2024 Elections
A session of journalists interacting with the facilitator

The initiative aims to foster media literacy, capacity building, and the promotion of freedom of expression in electoral processes.

The overarching goal is to educate the media on disseminating accurate information to support peaceful elections.

Dr. Wilberforce S. Dzisah, the former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), emphasized the importance of freedom of expression, describing it as a fundamental right.

He highlighted the pivotal role of the media as the fourth estate in ensuring credibility, balance, and professionalism in information dissemination.

Dr. Wilberforce S. Dzisah, the former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism

“To every law, there is an exception,” Dr. Dzisah stated. “Article 164 of our 1992 Constitution specifies that we cannot disseminate information that could lead to disorder or affect public morality in terms of national security.” He also elaborated on the three-part test of freedom of speech and elections, which includes legality, legitimacy, and proportionality.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Dzisah stressed that the 2024 elections must be covered impartially, accurately, and objectively.

He reminded journalists of the crucial role that freedom of expression and elections play in maintaining democratic stability and political accountability.

Dr. Aurelia Ayisi, a lecturer in the Department of Communications Studies at the University of Ghana, presented on the impact of hate speech on electoral processes.

Dr. Aurelia Ayisi

She also addressed issues of electoral violence and gender-based violence, noting that female journalists are particularly vulnerable to attacks in their line of work.

Dr. Ayisi underscored the importance of achieving gender equality in leadership and decision-making processes in Ghana.

This comprehensive training was held with support of the UNESCO Multi Donor Program on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists, under the Theme: “Elections in Digital Age: Countering Hate Speech & Misinformation on Social Media Platforms for Peaceful Election”.

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