“A poorly paid Journalist is a threat to society and breeds an ecosystem characterised by bad journalism,” Professor Amin Alhassan, the Director-General, of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation has said.
He said it was, therefore, crucial that managers and employers of Journalists offered them great working conditions and terms of service to enable them to work comfortably as the fourth estate of government.
Prof. Alhassan made the comment when he chaired the inauguration ceremony of the newly elected executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).
His comment followed an assurance by the newly elected GJA President Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, to work with members to “change the figures on the pay-slip of Journalists through collective bargaining”.
Mr Dwumfour said one of the major worries of many journalists was their poor salary and one could not deny that journalists were among the low-income earners in the country.
“It's time we changed the figures on the pay slip by working hard to improve the salaries of journalists through collective bargaining. We will do this by completing the unionisation process to acquire a bargaining certificate for journalists.
“We will also engage media owners and key stakeholders, including the government, GIBA, PRINPRAG and the National Media Commission, on how to improve the wages and working conditions of journalists. I believe, and I guess we all do, that a well-paid journalist is an independent, credible and fearless journalist,” he added.
His administration would also propose to set up a Journalists Support Fund with the support of development partners to address the challenges journalists faced in their line of duty and sometimes causing physical, psychological or emotional harm.
Mr Dwumfour bemoaned the unending attacks on journalists, saying the era when they were assaulted, but lacked justice due to lack of funds to pursue legal action would soon become history.
“So let me issue a note of warning to people who take unrighteous liberty to assault journalists that there is a new Sheriff in town who will go to any length within the law to protect his comrades,” he added.
The GJA President said the first obligation of Journalists was to write the truth and their first loyalty was to the people, but that could only be achieved through good journalism.
The GJA would, therefore, strive to empower members to be independent, free and bold to serve the interests of the people for all common good.
“We will also encourage high professional standards and at all times push for zero tolerance for misinformation, fake news, misrepresentation and exaggeration, as well as stories that promote prejudices, misconceptions, hatred, violent conflicts and discrimination,” he added.
The Dwumfour Administration, he said, would make the GJA national and regional media awards more appealing and competitive, with a push for a common award support system.
It would thus review the current awards system and give it a new facelift in line with its promise to reposition the GJA in a more positive light.
Mr Dwumfour disclosed that the Association would organise this year's GJA Media Awards, hopefully, in November.
“I promise that my tenure as President of the GJA will usher in a transparent and open leadership. For this reason, I pledge to make the GJA a respected media entity capable of serving the interests of the good people of Ghana. The National Executive, which I lead, needs committed support from all members to ensure the desired impact in the media space,” he added.