The Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana realized an amount of Ghc2.5 million from charging journalists for accreditation cards during the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. The money is however in the GCB Bank account of the Commission.
The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei who revealed this to parliament yesterday, said the Commission resorted to charging journalists because at the time they were preparing the budget estimates for the year it did not occur to them to include the costs of providing accreditation to journalists.
“I guess it was an oversight,” she stated.
The EC Chairperson was in parliament to respond to an urgent question filed in the name of the Honorable Member of Parliament (MP) for Subin, Eugene Antwi, who viewed the issue as an anomaly in connection with the EC’s financial statement.
Ahead of the 2016 general elections, EC announced that journalists who wished to cover the elections were to pay Ghc10 for accreditation card.
“Accreditation tags will be given to only those who have formally applied for it and for a fee to be determined by the Commission,” the announcement stated.
The Commission also charges Ghc5 to replace Identification Cards (IDs) of Voters. According to the chairperson, the charges were necessary because there was no way the EC could have estimated the number of journalists who would cover the elections so as to budget for them.
Justifying the move, the EC Chairperson noted that the number of media houses, both local and international that applied to cover the 2016 elections was an indication that the decision by the Commission to charge journalists and media practitioners for accreditation was not a bad one.
She said the practice was not a novelty and that it was introduced in other elections in Ghana, especially during the last district assembly elections and that the turnout of journalists indicated that the decision was apt.
“This is not the first time the Commission has charged journalists for accreditation. This had happened in the District Assembly elections and so it wasn’t the first time.
“Judging by the numbers; that’s 4,271 and the way that the media covered the elections very effectively, we don’t think it is a bad practice,” she stated.
Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingsin || ghananewsonline.com.gh