Head of the Center for Policy Discourse Analysis (CDPA) is cautioning politicians against the use of extreme and insulting language as the 2020 electioneering campaign heats up.
Dr Godwin Etse Sikanku says the wrong use of language during the campaign and on media platforms could jeopardize the country’s democracy.
“This is one more opportunity for Ghana to demonstrate its growth and its maturity in democracy. We need to elevate the kind of discourse that we have in the 2020 elections.
“We need to have a campaign based on issues. We need to have an ideas-based discussion that will help to educate and inform the public to make intelligible decisions,” he noted.
“Democracy exists to serve the people. We hope this election will be a contestation based on ideas and not on personal attacks, embellishment, exaggerations, and on extreme partisanship,” the communications lecturer and consultant noted.
“The consequences can be fatal and huge for our country if extreme language dominates the discourse. Language and discourse shape people’s thoughts and behaviours. People take cues from political leadership. And that trickles down and affects how people act,” Dr Sikanku added.
He was speaking when students and faculty members of the Youngstown State University in the USA visited the centre to learn more about media in Africa. They were also at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) to learn more about Ghanaian journalism.
Prof. Carol Bennett who is assistant provost for Diversity and Inclusion at Youngstown State University expressed joy about the opportunity to visit Ghana.
“I get to see a place where it was cultural before Europeans came, there was a government before the Europeans came, and to see how it has evolved and the progress that the country is making,” she said.