Journalism is a profession and it must be therefore practiced professionally. This requires that as practitioners we adopt the rules and ethics necessary to accomplish our mission to inform our readers, listeners and viewers.
There is no doubt that over the past years the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) appears to have lost its relevance, credibility and importance within the country’s socio-economic and political arena.
The respect and authority we as journalists commended as professionals is no longer easily discernible. Our current leadership is a leadership in crisis, if I may say so because of the failure to provide an effective and vibrant leadership with a vision to guide the association.
To the very young ones, the GJA is not an attractive organisation to be associated with. This is an association with no clear aim and vision. This is rather unfortunate.
I need not to rehash the problems of the association but rather to put out my vision, mission and the policy initiatives that me and my team when elected will roll out.
The association as it stands now need a team of leaders with vision, capacity and independence to oversee and supervise the required change that members are calling for. A leadership that is all inclusive, dedicated and honest with an underlying vision of creating a strong, formidable and credible association for Ghanaian journalists.
Our leadership will be based on five core values – credibility, truthfulness, diligence, fairness and self-respect.
Review of Constitution
The Election Dispute Adjudication Committee in its report called for a total review of the constitution. According y to them, the constitution as it stands now will hinder the growth and development of the association. Steps will therefore be taken to have the constitution reviewed for the benefit of all.
Training and retraining of members will be paramount under our administration. Members will receive continuous training programmes with relevant media training institutions of repute.
Within a wider context the leadership will develop various specialised courses and programmes in the area of journalism. These training programmes in the near-term will be located in an accredited university to be run on behalf of the association.
GJA/Media Managers and Owners dialogue
Under our leadership we shall institute a GJA/Media Managers and Owners platform whereby we shall discuss critical issues affecting journalists and the industry as a whole. As journalists and media owners we need to be revising our notes and see how we on our own can review our own activities without a third party.
Legalisation of GJA Properties
Steps will be taken to have title to our property (The Press Centre) which was donated to the GJA by former President J.A. Kufuor. Very reliable information has it that the property is still in the name of the former owners. This can be attested in two utility bills that come to the press centre every month.
There are more than ten specialised groups of journalists doing their bits to upgrade their professional competences.
Groups like the Editor’s Forum Ghana, Journalists for Business Advocacy, Parliamentary Press Corps, Institute for Financial and Economic Journalists, Network of Communication Reporters, Sports Writers Association of Ghana and the likes will be challenged to up their game for the betterment of journalism in the country.
Dead groups such as Entertainment, Critics and Reviewers of Ghana, Association of Women in the Media, and the Photojournalism Association of Ghana among others will be revived and supported.
Structures will be put in place to strengthen the various committees and regional branches within the GJA so that they can deliver on their mandate. The Greater Accra Branch of the GJA will be revived. Each region will be encouraged to develop its own work plan. At least every region will be assisted to develop and implement four activities in the year. Each executive member will also have an oversight responsibilities on a regional branch
Unionisation of the GJA
The GJA is a professional body dedicated to promoting and enforcing professional standards of journalism. Rushing to register it as a union will fly in the face of the law. Our leadership will rather prefer to support the TUC to sponsor a Media Workers Union to cater for all media workers. With this the GJA will continue to maintain it professional integrity.
Senior editors in managerial positions, media owners and managers in various media houses and even retired journalists cannot be members of GJA as a union. This means that they will be excluded from all GJA activities.
The Press Centre
The Press Centre will be modernised to international standards. One of the rooms will be turned into a news room or a media training centre with high speed internet facilities such that it will be very convenient for reporters to file their stories from that facility without any hustle. The content of our website will be improved to carry stories, articles and adverts to generate some revenue.
Facilities at conference hall will be improved and services enhanced to become the preferred destination for press conferences by corporate bodies and other institutions.
Welfare of Journalists.
The welfare of journalists will be taken seriously. Under our leadership we shall institute group insurance policy for members. It is surprising that to date no compensation had been made to the members of the presidential press corps who were involved in that terrible accident two years ago in which a young and promising reporter lost his life. We will also set up a fund to cater or assist our invalid members who have contributed to the growth and development of the association over the years.
Annual Photo Exhibition
An annual photo exhibition will be instituted to expose the professional competencies of both our camera men and women as well as our videographers. As the saying goes a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Our photojournalist and videographers need to be encouraged and motivated.
Revival of annual GJA lectures
The annual GJA lectures and symposium (Kugblenu-Thompson lectures) will be revived to increase the discussions on national and international issues. As journalists we must add up to the intellectual and academic freedom of the country. The annual lectures will be rebranded to Kugblenu-Thompson-Nuamah memorial lectures. This is to immortalise our young compatriot, the Late Samuel Nuamah of Times who died in the line of duty two years ago.
Launch of GHS25 million Ghana Media Fund.
In the first quarter of 2018 we will launch a GHS25million Ghana Media fund should we take over from this present administration. The focus and objective of this fund is to assist and increase quality, quantity and diversity of investigative journalism and public interest journalism products in the media sector. It will also focus on increasing the professional capacity of journalists.
Internal Generated Fund (IGF)
Apart from the media fund, our leadership will seek to improve the internal revenue generation mechanism of the association by attracting media houses to put up their bill boards around the press centre to advertise their respective organisations at a moderate rate.
Other friendly corporate organisations will equally be encouraged to advertise same on the outer part of the fence at the centre.
The association will not spend every pesewa that comes on its way. At least between 10 to 20 per cent of our IGF will be invested in both short and medium term instruments so that in hard times we can lay hands on it at least to service our statutory obligations.
Annual GJA Awards
The annual GJA awards will be reviewed to make it more competitive, credible and acceptable. It is of no use where at the end of an annual awards stakeholders, award winners, journalists will begin to question the credibility of the whole event. Annual awards should be held in a manner that will ensure creativity and unearth talent while adding to the development of journalism.
Call for a Change
It is against this background that we are calling for a change. A change that will transform the association and take it to the next level.
That is why the Lloyd and Francis team is calling on all members of the inky fraternity to have the association at heart and vote for that needed change.
Vote for Lloyd, Francis, Kofi and Vance on September 29 to lead the GJA for the next three years.
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