Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has lauded the role of the media in nation building.
He said quite often when people experience peace and good democratic atmospheres; they turn to take things for granted and think things just occur or happen by coincidence.
“In my years as a banker and a politician, I have no doubt about the power of the media in making or unmaking a nation or an institution. If today in Ghana we have such a peaceful political atmosphere with a highly active population on national issues, the crown of such success must be placed at the door of the journalists, some of whom we celebrate tonight.”
The Vice President said this in his address on Saturday in Accra at the 24th Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Awards Night and the GJA Platinum Anniversary Celebration.
The event was held under the theme “Democracy, Freedom and Independence of the Press in Ghana: 70 Years of the GJA’s Contributions”.
He said history indicates that the indelible contributions of the media to democratic elections in Ghana started long before independence citing that in the 1951 general elections, the media provided a platform for political parties for citizens’ mobilisation and democracy education.
He said the media continues to serve as conduit and major outlet for proving qualitative information to the citizenry that electrifies the political atmosphere for the conduct of peaceful elections in Ghana.
The Vice President again cited the instrumental role the media played in the 2012/2013 Supreme Court Election Petition was a litmus test of the profundity of the Ghanaian media in its institutional growth.
“Again, the media is the front burner in agenda setting for political parties’ manifestos including its core function of surveillance, early warning signals from potential sources of threats to peaceful elections and information dissemination,” he said.
He said some media houses have established election command centres and election situation rooms to monitor, educate and inform the voters on election processed, particularly during voting and declarations of results: stating that “this model is very commendable”.
He said generally, the contributions and attributions of the media at real political participation, representative democracy and policy education; also deserves commendation.
“I must however, admit that some media houses and journalists are yet to appreciate the tenets of circumspection in election publications and conflict sensitive reporting in order to sustain peace and development in the country.”
Vice President Bawumia said in the midst of Ghana’s democratic credentials was the ills of acrimonious politics, exacerbated by the winner takes all system of government; declaring that “that practice unfortunately is heavily chipping away and eroding our political and economic gains.
He said politics of acrimony was exclusionary and a potential source of treat to peaceful coexistence, development efficiency and equal distribution of public good.
“It, therefore, requires a reasoned solution from all stakeholders, particularly from all the political parties to nip this canker in the bud in the spirit of common good and posterity.”
Vice President Dr Bawumia extended his congratulatory message to the awardees.
A Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Enam Hadzide, who congratulated the GJA on its 70th anniversary, also lauded the media’s role in disseminating information to the citizenry.
GJA President, Roland Affail Monney, said the GJA’s 70 years journey has not been easy and they could only express their gratitude to God for the great things he had done for their noble association.
“As we mark the 70th anniversary of the GJA, the media fraternity need to take a hard look the challenges (facing them) to find ways of addressing them,” he said.
“This requires unity of purpose and rallying behind the cause for total freedom and independence of the media in Ghana. With one mind and common voice, we can overcome some day.”
The 2018 GJA Best Journalist Award was won by Madam Doreen Hammond, an Editor of the Daily Graphic newspaper.