Ghanaian journalist, Kwame Sefa-Kayi, has described the Electoral Commission’s decision to charge journalists willing to cover this year’s election as “shameful” and “unfair”.
According to him, the decision by the country’s electoral body “makes no sense” and may force some journalists to focus on negatives on the day of the elections.
“I think it is shameful, that you will charge the media to cover the elections… I don’t think it is a very good thing you have done. You are denying journalists the right to report the truth, the situations as they happen to people. I don’t think that is a smart thing to do, I don’t know why a journalist or part of the media, you have to pay money to cover the elections.
If we are not careful, we will end up reporting disaster. Little things like what the Electoral Commission has done to us as journalists is what starts these small things,” he said.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) on Monday, November 21, Kwame Sefa-Kayi said journalists must not be made to pay before they cover national events such as the elections.
The Electoral Commission recently announced it will charge journalists 10 cedis and 20 cedis for Ghana Journalists Association members and non-members respectively.
The amount is to enable the Commission provide accreditation cards, although it has huge government of Ghana and donor funding for organizing the elections. The decision generated a lot of controversy with a group of journalists dragging the Commission before court over the mater.
But according to Mr. Sefa-Kayi, Host of the ‘Kokrokoo’ Morning Show on Accra-based Peace FM, it is improper to introduce the charges for this year’s elections, when that has never been the case since the country started conducting democratic elections.
NCCE must stop the pretense
He further accused the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) of pretending to be working actively ahead of this year’s election, when it lacked the needed resources to carry out its mandate.
According to him, although the Commission has in various interactions complained about their inadequacies, it has failed to channel its grievances to the appropriate quarters in government to have them addressed tenable them work effectively.