The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in partnership with the Excellence in Broadcasting (EIB) Network on the evening of Wednesday July 20, 2016, held a Public Forum on Media, Hate Speech and Peaceful Elections in Ghana.

The forum formed part of the MFWA’s Campaign Language Monitoring project and EIB’s Elections Hub Project aimed at promoting issue-driven and peaceful elections in Ghana.

The event featured both local and international speakers including Akua Gyekye, Facebook’s Public Policy Director for Africa, Neil Potts, Public Policy Director, Content Policy, Facebook Africa, Emmanuel Mugisha, Executive Secretary of Rwanda Media Commission and Kabral Blay-Amihere, Past Chair, National Media Commission.

They deliberated on emerging issues of hate speech in campaign communication in both traditional and social media and ways of addressing the challenge to contribute to peaceful elections.

Participants at the forum included stakeholders from the media, political parties, elections experts, academia, civil society, government representatives, members of the diplomatic community and the general public.

The MFWA’s campaign language monitoring project tracks the use of abusive campaign language on 60 selected radio stations across the country. The project also monitors how moderators and show hosts of the target stations handle their programmes.

The project names and shames individuals who use abusive language and radio as well as their political parties. The project also names radio stations and presenters who allow their platforms to be used for abusive campaigning.

“Elsewhere in Africa, hate speech and unprofessional media conduct during elections have resulted in electoral violence. This forum is thus, an important event for sharing perspectives on the issue of hate speech and unprofessionalism in the media,” said Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director, MFWA.

The forum’s media partner, EIB Network believes the outcome of the event delivers on a key objective of promoting a culture of tolerance and peace to characterise the conduct of the upcoming polls. The Network’s Chief Executive Officer, Kwabena Anokye Adisi noted, “our trail blazing role must be evident in every effort to defend the enviable democratic credentials of our country. It’s an onerous duty call for every media organization, but for EIB, it’s a patriotic agenda hence our chief support to make it happen”.

EIB NETWORK’s ELECTION HUB PROJECT combines cutting edge media technologies and ‘A’ rated seasoned broadcasters including content management team in providing compelling comprehensive and credible coverage of elections 2016 across its over 10 media properties online, radio, television, print, events nationwide with footprints in the sub region.

The public forum is being implemented with funding support from OSIWA, STAR-Ghana, the Embassy of France in Ghana and the EU (through Socioserve-Ghana).