Govt Sets Aside GHc1m For Media Development Fund
5/12/2012 9:12:38 AM -
Government is setting aside GHc1 million to establish a Media Development Fund, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, has announced.
Presenting the 2012 Budget and Economic Policy of the government, Dr Duffuor said the fund, which would be administered by a board of trustees, was aimed at improving the professional output and competence of media organisations and personnel in Ghana.
He also said donors and corporate organisations would be invited to contribute to the fund.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has welcomed the decision of the government to set up the fund and described it as “progressive”.
The President of the association, Mr Ransford Tetteh, however, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that “the GJA would see to it that the management of the fund is not used to compromise the independence of the media”.
Some media analysts have questioned the motive behind the establishment of such a fund, expressing the fear that the independence of the media could easily be compromised.
But the GJA President said the fund was timely because it had come at a time when many media organisations were not in the financial position to improve on the quality of their media personnel.
“It should be noted that the media are not only out to make profit but also serve a social purpose by informing, educating and entertaining the public,” he said.
Mr Tetteh said the fund was being set up with money belonging to the state for a purpose, which was necessary to help the media up their game to better ensure participatory democracy in the country.
He said the country needed the media to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs and society in general, saying it would require a media which were apt to do so.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Mr Gabby Okyere-Darko, has raised concerns over the establishment of the fund and questioned the rationale behind it.
Speaking on an FM radio station, he said the government had not spelt out the details of the fund, except to say that it would be managed by a board of trustees whose independence could not be guaranteed.
But, in his response on the same network, a Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa, indicated that the “government will not use the fund to compromise journalists”.
He said the government would set up the board of trustees in consultation with the National Media Commission (NMC) and the GJA to guarantee its independence.
Mr Ablakwa said the government recognised the need for journalists to upgrade their skills and also specialise in particular areas in the profession.
“The fund should also be able to sponsor deserving journalists on courses within and outside the country,” he said.
The deputy minister said the government would not be interested in selecting or controlling the board in its work “because that is not the intention of President Mills in setting up this fund”.