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Election 2024: MFWA trains journalists on hate speech and political propaganda

 The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has organized two-day knowledge and skills-enhancing training on hate speech and political propaganda for some selected journalists in the Ashanti region.

The goal of the program was to give journalists the skills and information they would need to stop the spread of false information in the run-up to the general elections in 2024.

In addition, it was intended to lessen the prevalence of hate speech and other divisive stories that threaten peace, stability, and social cohesion, particularly in light of the upcoming general elections.

Under the theme ‘Countering hate speech and polarizing narratives to foster democratic consolidation and peace in Ghana’, it was held on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, and Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

The Ashanti region training was one of the training series organized by MFWA across the 16 regions in Ghana to ensure violence-free 2024 elections, which has been regarded as a “heated electoral contest”.

Among the topics the journalists were trained on were the understanding of violence extremism, conflict sensitive reporting, mis/disinformation disorder and fact-checking.

Senior Program Officer at the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Kwaku Krobea Asante, elaborating on the significance of the training stressed how information sharing by journalists in conflict or violent reporting might lead to conflicts.

“The media becomes the medium through which electoral activities happen, it is through which the MFWA decided to train journalists to build their capacities on  conflict sensitive resolution, peace journalism and fact-based reports so when they are confronted with these challenges, they will know how to deal with them,” he added.

On the expectations of journalists after the training, Kwaku Krobea Asante wants them to correct a lot of practices at the newsrooms they are not conscious of, that contribute false narratives, undermining the peace, stability and security the country is enjoying.

“We want the journalists to raise red flags on some of these traditional practices and to instill the culture of verification and fact-checking on information before publishing to avoid electoral violence before, during and after the December 2024 polls,” he stated.

An Academic and Peace building expert from the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Dr Kaderic Noagah Bukari, took the journalists through the causes of electoral conflicts and how to deal with them.

He reminded them of their roles in ensuring that they understand the conflict or the violence at hand, by digging deep to establish accurate information from the sides of the parties before reporting, to avoid political and ethnic conflicts.

Source: Ghana/otecfmghana.com/Francis Appiah

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