Penplusbytes to issue explainers ahead of December polls

As part of our issues based coverage of Ghana’s Elections 2016, Penplusbytes’ African Elections Project will be issuing explainer articles till Ghana goes to the polls in December. Like the 2012 elections, Penplusbytes is poised to deploy very innovative tools and provide civic education to the electorates to ensure Ghana emerges out the 2016 General Elections unscathed and this is one such intervention.

The explainers which are issued under the “Ghana Elections 2016: Tech Supported Peaceful Elections” project with support from the National Endowment for Democracy are articles aimed towards promoting peaceful, transparent and credible elections in Ghana by showing some level of intelligence behind news stories and also providing insights on persistent political issues that either threaten or promote peaceful 2016 Elections in Ghana.

The first explainer article was issued on August 1 following the sentencing of the three panelists of Montie FM by the Supreme Court. The explainer which can be found here, explored the genesis of the matter and how it ended up as a contempt case as well as its implications for Ghana’s burgeoning democracy.

According to the Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Kwami Ahiabenu II, “The explainer articles will involve the use digital tools and infographics to inform the reader of the ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of election news items and will attempt to get behind the news to give the reader background information on a selected election story to ensure that the electorates are able to properly understand events as they unfold.”

He added that, “the explainers are expected to play an essential role in improving democratic accountability and enhancing political discourse. With an ultimate aim of educating and informing the electorate so they make informed choices at the polls”.

Even though Ghana has gone through six successive and peaceful elections since the birth of democracy in 1992, there has always been increased efforts by many stakeholders and well-meaning Ghanaians to ensure peace in every elections since 1992. This is because the country’s political discourse, particularly during the electioneering period, has gained notoriety for potentially derailing the peace of this land if left unchecked, because of the culture of impunity and the seeming lack of political will to confront hate speech, misinformation, and mudslinging, among others in the name of freedom of speech.

A threat level analysis conducted by the Ghana Police Service ahead of the 2016 Elections revealed that, 5,003 out of existing 26,002 polling stations are potential hotspots, while there are about 1.1 million small-arms in unauthorized hands. To ensure peaceful elections before, during and after the Ghana 2016 Elections, there is the need to explain the genesis of many controversial issues that may incite unrest among political factions.

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Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization driving change through innovations in three key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and enhancing media oversight for effective utilization of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.

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