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GJA Must Be Firm In Ensuring That Journalists Are Not Taken For Granted - Minister
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Mr Mustapha Abdul Hamid, Minister for Information 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.

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: Mr Roland Affail Monney as President, Mrs Linda Asante-Adjei as Vice President, Mr Edmund Kofi Yeboah as General Secretary, Ms. Mary Mensah as Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Albert Tuffour as Organising Secretary and Mrs Audrey Dekalu as Treasurer.

Nana Kwesi Gyan Apenteng, Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC) 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.

Source: GNA

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