The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has called on the media to assist efforts and strategies to build resilient communities to withstand the imminent threats of insurgencies.
That will also preserve the peace and stability in the country.
Ms. Kathleen Addy, the Chairperson of the Commission who made the call, observed that threats of terrorism had become more pronounced and posed security threats to the country, especially within the border communities and underscored positive journalism on security issues to empower the communities against such threats.
“The threat of terrorism on the shores of Ghana is more serious by the fact that there are so many factors in-country that make us more vulnerable to those threats.
“How we report chaos, conflicts, breakdown of law and order and violent extremism will be key to how it will be resolved,” she added.
The Chairperson was speaking at a media advocacy training workshop on the role of the media in preventing and containing violent extremism, organised by the Commission with funding from the EurUnion4 Union (EU) and held in Tamale.
Ms. Addy explained that activities of terrorists that had ravaged neighbouring countries such as Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Nigeria among others was a significant indication that Ghana was not immuned to the attacks and underscored collective approach to countering any spill over.
“You know the role the media played in Rwanda in 1994, almost one million people died within 100 days. Although the conflict and the underlying factors were there, if the media had not played the role it played, maybe we would not have had 800,000 people dying, that is my strong believe because the voice and channels of the media pushed the people to do what they did”, she added.
The Chairperson noted that apart from the economic difficulties, land and chieftaincy disputes and political violence during elections, the protracted Bawku conflict had put the area and the country at risk and reminded the media practitioners of their positive role in building peace and championing sustainable development.
Dr Baba Sayuti, the Principal Security Analyst at the Ministry of National Security, explained that activities of terrorism had impacted socio-economic development of countries in the Sahelian region and created a state of dire need for vulnerable people.
He said four of the 10 most impacted countries in the world had been found in the Sahel region, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger and the Sahel region contributed about 43 per cent to global terrorism deaths in 2022, with Burkina Faso and Mali alone accounting for 73 per cent of the deaths in the Sahel.
“At first, we all thought that terrorism was an American thing when the 9/11 happened but when Gaddafi was killed the floodgates opened and so it is alarming and the media has a role to play to support the state,” he said.
Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Haruna Attah, Former Ghana Ambassador to Namibia, explained that the role of the media had gone beyond watchdog to contributing to the growth and peace of the country and should not be taken for granted.
Mrs Afua Lamptey, the Deputy Head of Programmes, Conflict Management Programme, Faculty of Economic Affairs at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre, urged journalists to prioritise research and present balanced reports that could contribute to peacebuilding processes.
The media training was part of a project being implemented by the NCCE, targeting eight border regions in Ghana with the aim of strengthening state actors such as governance, security, media and non-state actors at the national and community level in the prevention and fight against violent extremism and also identify citizens who may be at risk and prevent them from joining violent or criminal groups.
It brought together journalists from the Northern, Savannah, North East, Upper East, Upper West, Bono, Bono East and Oti regions.
Follow us on our social media pages for more stories and posts from the NCCE.