IPR President, Major (Rtd) Albert Don-Chebe
The Institute of Public Relations, Ghana (IPR), has observed that in spite of all exhortations and appeals, the language of politicians and political spokepersons is assuming a colour and tone creating a lot of discomfort and anguish to well-meaning Ghanaians.
It noted with concern, the levels of intemperance and intolerance of politicians and urged them to be circumspect in their utterances in order not to plunge the country into chaos.
The IPR stated this in a statement issued in Accra April 20, 2012 and signed by its President, Major (Rtd) Albert Don-Chebe.
It said events of the recent past should serve as a wake-up call to the vast majority of Ghanaians that there is a danger that the country may suffer serious reputational damage which will affect its image as a peaceful, friendly, open and welcoming society.
The IPR said the image that Ghana had carved for itself for decades was achieved through the hard work of political actors, opinion leaders and statesmen who were far-sighted enough to understand that natural and human resources alone will not give the country competitive advantage in the sub-region.
It explained that what had given the country the rapid acceleration and increased investment attraction in the West African sub-region included the penchant to “live and let live” and the willingness of the people to rise above entrenched positions in order to advance the good of Ghanaians.
The IPR called for the use of decorous and decent language in the ongoing political contest because Ghana was a pacesetter for African regeneration, adding “any failure will not only affect the 25 million souls in Ghana but the entire African continent and the black diaspora.”
“As professional communicators, we have observed the present escalation of polarisation through public discourse with dissatisfaction and regret,” the statement added.
It called on Ghanaians to reject intemperate language that sought to justify bigotry, prejudice and discrimination of any kind, adding “the IPR is calling on all national leaders, political, economic, commercial, industrial, academic or traditional to make their voices heard in this national crusade.”
The statement cautioned media practitioners to, at all times, consider the security and interest of Ghana in their broadcasting and publications, adding “repetitive negative reportage has a repercussion on the image of Ghana in international circles which seriously damages the investment climate in Ghana.”
“Investors may be tempted to shy away from Ghana basically because of the stories carried in the media. Our media need to learn from best practices from other countries where the media go to reasonable lengths to protect the image and integrity of the state by playing their gate-keeping roles with extreme discretion,” the statement urged.
Politics, the IPR said should not become a matter of survival of the fittest to the detriment of the country and called on all to place the interest of Ghana above political groupings.