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Elections: National Peace Council builds capacity of journalists

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A two-day training programme aimed at empowering and exposing journalists to acts and conducts that could harm Ghana’s peace as the nation shapes itself for the upcoming elections is underway in Accra.

Organized by the National Peace Council (NPC), the training among other objectives seeks to equip journalists, especially those in the print and electronic sectors, with the right communication skills devoid of intemperate language.

Under the theme: “Covering conflict and how to avoid intemperate language.” about 30 journalists from both private and state media organizations have their capacities being built in delivering the priority needs of Ghanaians.

Speaking at the opening, Mr Emmanuel Dogbevi, the acting Executive Secretary of the National Peace Council, said the rationale behind the training programme is to empower journalists and expose them to some forms of communication deficiencies that have the potential of creating conflicts.

He said Ghana’s peace and stability had come to a stage where priority had to be put on it so that any acts that could damage it would be addressed immediately.

Appreciating the need to protect the country’s peace, Mr Dogbevi said the NPC, as part of its peace agenda, decided to begin a nationwide training programme targeted at shaping the skills of journalists whose role to peace stability could not be underestimated.

“The NPC is aware of the role journalists play in national development and peacekeeping in a country and the council believes that any training programme to empower them should be given a priority,” he said.

Mr Dogbevi said the council had earlier met with editors and media owners to engage them in areas they could help to improve.

“We have already been to Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale and now we are in Accra. We hope to do the training in all the 16 regions before the 2020 election,” he said

Concerning the 2020 election, Mr Dogbevi said the country might witness a new dimension because Ghana had not encountered any election where a former President would be contesting a sitting President.

“This calls for special attention and focuses on how to ensure that nothing chaotic happens before, during and after the election,” he said.

Mr Dogbevi, therefore, stressed the need for journalists to do everything within their power to avoid the use of intemperate language in their communication.

In his welcome address, Reverend Samuel K. Osabutey, the Chairman of the Greater Accra Peace Council, said among the seven key functions of regional peace council was to offer advice to the Regional Coordinating Council on conflict management and building sustainable peace.

He said the council was determined and prepared to do all within its powers to help maintain Ghana’s peace and stability before, during and after the election.

Using the genocide that occurred in Rwanda as an example, Rev. Osabutey, who is also the Methodist Bishop of Accra Diocese, said the communication skills and words used by the media played a major role in it.

He said the use of hate speeches had done more evil and created huge destruction than anticipated.

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