The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has said that during the 2020 elections, it is expected that Ghanaians will turn to mainstream media for verification of news reportage.
It however observes that the credibility of the media may be put to question when certain factors, namely, the political capture of the media, unverified news from social media and COVID-19 come into play.
Programme Officer at MFWA, Kwaku Krobea Asante, in an interview with Samuel Eshun on e. TV Ghana’s ‘Fact Sheet’ show said of the political capture of the media: “You will be amazed at the politcal capture in the media. If they own the media, they get to decide what is broadcast.
It’s a major challenge for us going into the election. This will cause polarization in the reportage which is very dangerous. It is therefore up to the journalist to uphold the ethical standards of the profession”.
Kwaku furthered that during elections, many people will put out unverified news reports on social media. And it is thus important that the media verifies these reports before bringing that into the mainstream media.
“A lot more people will be covering elections giving their own political leanings. This is the time that everyone will run to the mainstream media for verification. So if the mainstream doesn’t have someone in certain constituencies, that will be a problem”, he added.
Kwaku envisaged also that COVID-19 is likely to affect the number of human resources available to cover the elections as well as the motivation of this human resource; thereby influencing the quality of reportage during the election period.
In spite of all these factors likely influencing media reportage during the election, Kwaku encouraged journalists and media houses to do all they can “to circumvent” all these factors in order for the elections coverage to be credible and increase the public’s trust in the media.