Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) together with the Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), Independent Broadcasters Associations (GIBA) and many more have commended the media practitioners for risking their lives in educating and amplifying the drumbeat on the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While commending the media, the groups pointed out to the government the much effort the media was putting across in discharging their duties and in such deserve to benefit from the stimulus package made available to the frontline workers.
Not withstanding the formidable challenges , journalists continually face life threatening risks as they interview infected people, follow contact tracers, publicize frontline workers, intensify public education and amplify the drumbeat on the dangers of the pandemic, the group noted.
At a press conference in Accra, the president of GJA Mr. Affail Monne said most of the media houses are financially unstable and logistically handicapped therefore advocating that the government should set up a fund to cater for the frontline media practitioners just as the frontline workers.
He said many journalists have not received their meager pay. Indeed, it would take a miracle for their next salaries to come.
Mr. Monne said the situations in our media houses is an open secret and very justified and logical for the groups to make a very a strong and urgent appeal for media houses to be considered in the stimulus package.
Here is the full statements read by GJA
The President of PRINPAG, PRESIDENT of ASWIM, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF GIBA, VICE PRESIDENT , GENERAL SECRETARY AND ORGANIZING SECRETARY OF GJA, Senior Journalists , Colleague Journalists, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the GJA , I express my profound gratitude to you all for responding to our invitation at a very short notice. It has often been articulated , and it bears repeating , that we are not in ordinary times. Your presence here in these abnormal times is ample proof of your commitment to join forces with officialdom, health workers and others to fight the Covid-19 pandemic with utmost ferocity , heightening , intensity and maximum tenacity.
Colleague journalists. Permit me to take a cursory inventory of the media’s coverage of the pandemic so far . It’s gratifying to note that the entire media are saturated with stories on coronavirus while reflecting our prayerful mood expectations of divine grace . The impact in terms of respect for safety protocols is , however, not uniform in the entire country. It is appreciably high in certain communities and abysmally low in others. The GJA takes the opportunity to sprinkle a stardust of praise on the media in general for the impressive work done. The following media houses deserve a special mention for their outstanding Covid- 19 coverage- UTV and Peace FM, Adom FM and Adom TV, Joy News and Joy FM, Citi FM and Citi TV, GTV and Radio Ghana, Atinka TV and ATINKA FM, GHOne and Star FM, Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times, Ghana News Agency, Daily Guide and Ghanaian Chronicle. As the saying goes, appreciation is the vehicle to elevation. We hope the media will accelerate professional coverage of the pandemic as we brace ourselves for the critical phase of the fight.
The GJA joins the chorus of praise for the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his inspirational leadership and incredible energy budget which have crystallized into the quality public health governance by the National Covid 19 Response Team , even under very challenging circumstances. The point can, however ,not be articulated that all this could not have been accomplished without the oxygen of publicity and the degree of education the media copiously provide. This naked truth , perhaps, explains the simmering discontent in certain media circles over the lack of recognition of the media by the highest office of the land for their inestimable sacrifice and immeasurable contribution to the fight against coronavirus. GJA’s take is this: This is not the time to prize recognition over responsibility . Indeed, the media have constitutional , professional, ethical, moral and godly responsibilities to champion the national interest in these critical times. And the national interest dictates that journalists should be disinclined to be deflected from aiding the Covid- 19 war maximally with all the arsenals at their disposal.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media. Another issue of interest is the scramble for recognition by all manner of professional groups as frontline workers in the fight against coronavirus. True, by virtue of what they do , the endless working hours they endure and the exigencies of the assignments they undertake, the media do not need any redefinition or reclassification as frontline workers. It will be superfluous to do so. It is also true that many media houses are financially disabled and logistically handicapped. This situation has been worsened by a dwindling revenue stream, swingering expenditure cuts and debilitating job losses. As of now , many journalists have not received their meagre pay. Indeed, it will take a miracle for their next salaries to come. Not withstanding the formidable challenges , journalists continually face life threatening risks as they interview infected people, follow contract tracers, publicize frontline workers, intensify public education and amplify the drumbeat on the dangers of the pandemic. It is , therefore, justified and logical for the GJA to make a very a strong and urgent appeal for media houses to be considered in the stimulus package. Provision of PPEs and transport for journalists by way of Ayalolo buses or other means should also be given a topmost priority.
While urging media practitioners themselves to internalize safety protocols and reflect them at all times, we once again commend them most highly for their frontal role in the battle against Covid-19.
In every battle, the confidence to win is the cornerstone of victory. With God on our side and the cooperation of all, Ghana will surely win this fight and consign the pandemic to the dustbin of history.
In this passion week, we wish all journalists the best of Good Friday and Resurrection Day
Thank you for your attention.
By: Jamila Wahab