A landmark chapter in the life of Ghana's foremost news organisation, the Graphic Communications Group Ltd, opened on Tuesday night with the launch of a hard cover book of newspaper articles that define our times.
The 498-page Jubilee Ghana – A 50-year news journey thro' Graphic, is a recollection of the events that have shaped the destiny of Ghana from the 1950s till now.
It is also a trip down memory lane with the makers of Ghanaian history as captured by the Daily Graphic and some of its best writers, including Isaac Nkrumah, Henry Ofori and Kofi Badu.
At Tuesday's launch of the book with Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama as guest speaker, the relevance of Jubilee Ghana to Ghanaian history and journalism ran through each of the six speakers' theme and affirmed the truism that 'time changes but history repeats itself'.
Vice President Mahama used the occasion to challenge journalists and media houses in Ghana not to over-concentrate on political issues in the discharge of their professional duties.
“It is not only politics that make news, but also other development issues that affect the very core of our livelihood,” he declared.
The Vice-President urged the media to be alive to their responsibilities and to society by giving adequate coverage to development issues and to convey the necessary feedback to the government.
Jubilee Ghana – A 50-year news journey thro' Graphic, is a compilation of events, news items and pictures published in the Daily Graphic from 1956 to 2006.
Its appeal and captivating stories and pictures about the country spanning half a century makes it interesting reading.
The book brightly catalogues the political history of Ghana, starting with the January 2, 1956 issue of the Daily Graphic which carried New Year messages from the then Prime Minister, Dr Kwame Nkrumah and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II.
It is more in response to the need to satisfy the nostalgic feelings of the old generation and the enthusiasm of the new generation of readers in particular and Ghanaians in general.
The Vice-President said the rural communities in Ghana needed basic amenities such as water, housing, good health, and freedom from ignorance, saying that “I believe there is no better way to influence such issues than through the media.”
He said since assuming political power, the government had created the enabling environment for the media to function more effectively than before.
Alhaji Mahama cited the repeal of laws that were inimical to free speech and strengthening of the National Media Commission (NMC) and co-peration from the government as contributory factors to the growth of a vibrant media in the country.
The Vice-President commended the management and staff of the Graphic Communications Group Limited for maintaining its position as the leading newspaper organisation in Ghana.
“Over the years, we have known the 'Graphic' as the leading newspaper organisation in the country and it is yet another feather in their cap that for the past 50 years they have been able to sustain that leadership.
When we were young, anytime we were asked to buy a newspaper, we knew only of Graphic,” Vice President Aliu said.
The Board Chairman of the Graphic Communications Group Limited and Krontihene of Akuapem Traditional Area, Osahene Offei Kwesi Agyeman IV, said the company continued to provide quality products and that the book would serve as a source of history.
A former Managing Director of the company, Mr Berifi Apenteng, who gave an insight into events leading to the compilation of the book, suggested that similar project should be undertaken in every 10 years instead of waiting for 50 years.
The Acting Managing Director of the company, Mr Elvis Aryeh, described Graphic as a “house of diversity with a variety of newspapers.”
The Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Kwesi Yankah, in a review, recommended the book to all journalists and the academia.
A former registrar of the Univerity of Ghana, Legon, Mr Ebo Daniels, and Nana Yaa Ofori-Atta, a journalist, who also reviewed the book, described it as a masterpiece and reference material for journalists and the public.
The first 10 copies of the book were sold at prices ranging from ¢30 million to ¢5 million.
A News Desk Report