GJA must be firm in ensuring that Journalists are not taken for granted - Information Minister

| Updated Nov 18, 2017 at 10:52am


Photographs by Ruth A. Adjorlolo/Francis Edzorna Mensah.


The six-member GJA Executive were sworn into office by Justice Anthony Kojo Yeboah, a Justice of the High Court, who administered the Oaths of Office and Secrecy.
Chairman of the National Media Commission, (NMC), Nana Kwesi Gyan Apenteng.
The Minister for Information, Mustapha Abdul Hamid, on Friday challenged the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to show some grit in ensuring that Journalists are not taken for granted, especially by employers.

He commended the GJA for unionising the Association but noted that it was now important for them to ‘show some teeth, and some bite’ when it comes to the working condition of Journalists in the country.

Speaking at the inauguration of the newly elected GJA executives in Accra, Mr. Hamid noted that whilst Journalism was seen globally as the best profession, Journalists had played frontline roles in struggles against colonialism and dictatorships.

He said in Ghana, conditions of service for most Journalists were deplorable, with some journalists receiving as low as GHc300 as their monthly salary, which sometimes even delayed.

He said the Union must ensure that media owners, who were now mostly business people, understood that they had to pay the Journalists they employed for their worth.

“….these days it is pure business enterprise, that’s what it is and so if it’s a business enterprise and you’re using people to make money, you ought to pay them for what it’s worth, you ought to pay them and the GJA ought to show grit in ensuring that people don’t take Journalists for granted,” he stated.

Mr. Hamid also urged newspapers in the country to emulate the emerging network models in broadcasting such as the Multimedia group and the EIB Network which had a group of media houses under one roof.

This, he said would enable newspapers to become relevant educational resources for the archives.

He noted that instead of a newspaper producing four or five pages, they could come together to produce more comprehensive papers that would cover all important and relevant subjects like agriculture or science among others that will serve as reference materials.

“It cannot just be about politics, politicians and what they do, it cannot. It should be possible for an agriculture student to be doing a research, and be told to look for the Daily Graphic to find material for research in agriculture, that is a newspaper,” he said.

Touching on the Right to Information Law, Mr Hamid said the government was taking pragmatic steps to ensure that it was passed to create a safer environment for the media to operate.

He also announced that Ghana had accepted to host the World Press Freedom Day next year and, therefore, it would be a credit to the country to pass the Right to Information Law before the occasion.

The six-member GJA Executive were sworn into office by Justice Anthony Kojo Yeboah, a Justice of the High Court, who administered the Oaths of Office and Secrecy.

The new Executives who were sworn in are: Roland Affail Monney as President, Mrs. Linda Asante-Adjei as Vice President, Edmund Kofi Yeboah as General Secretary, Mary Mensah as Public Affairs Officer, Albert Tuffour as Organising Secretary and Mrs. Audrey Dekalu as Treasurer.

The Chairman of the National Media Commission, (NMC), Nana Kwesi Gyan Apenteng, who chaired the ceremony, stressed the need to make, uniting the organisation a priority of the new executives, in view of the ‘bruising elections’ that had gone through court, arbitration and a whole gamut of peace-making.

“When you go through something like that, and it is a hallmark of democracy that we did, we have to purposefully come together as one body. Sometimes failing to do this can spell the doom of even the best intentioned organisations,” he said.

He also stated that it was important for the whole nation to help strengthen the GJA as it was one of the pillars of the regime of freedom of expression as well as the institution entrusted to help raise the standards to the highest quality of journalism in the country.

“It is important that the GJA is heard, not only when we have a crisis but throughout the year, Journalists must feel the presence of our association,” he said.

Mr. Roland Affail Monney, who is serving his second term as President of the GJA, acknowledged the difficulties leading up to the elections and commended the elections committee, the Election Adjudication Committee as well as others who supported his campaign.

He also recognised the state of the conditions of service of media workers in Ghana and noted that the unionisation of the GJA “imposed a huge responsibility on us to meet at all cost, the industrial and professional needs of journalist in Ghana”.

Mr. Monney said the immediate focus of the Association will be on reorganising the various chapters of the GJA, investment and fundraising, constitution review, establishment of ethics and disciplinary council and professional and welfare committees.

“Meanwhile, we make a passionate appeal for unity of purpose and active participation of all GJA members,” adding that some others who had contested in the elections, such as Lloyd Evans and Dave Agbenu will be given roles in the new administration.

He appealed for unity and active participation of all GJA members, saying the union will be as strong as the members made it.