The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has given a two-month moratorium to members of the News Vendors Association of Ghana to employ decent methods in discharging their duties or risk losing their news-stands.
The Chief Executive of the AMA, Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri-Blankson, gave the moratorium the ultimatum in Accra yesterday when the leadership of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Editors Forum, the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) and the Newspaper Vendors Association called on him to find ways by which the newspaper vendors can carry out their businesses in decongested environment.
The AMA plans to carry out another decongesting exercise in Accra from Sunday. Mr Adjiri-Blankson said much as he considered the media as partners in development, there was actually no difference between the regular hawkers and newspaper vendors and added that the outfit of newspaper vendors did not befit their duties and, therefore, called for decency in their immediate places of work.
He called on stakeholders in the media industry to facilitate the branding of newspaper stands for vendors using the logos of recognised companies, so that news vendors, including their stands, would appear more decent than they were now.
“I hope that before the CAN 2008 tournament we shall see a significant change in the lives of these vendors,” the AMA boss added.
Mr Adjiri-Blankson noted that some hawkers had resorted to using the news-stands as a ploy to sell their wares, hence the need to brand the news-stands whose location would be determined by his office.
The President of the GJA, Mr Ransford Tetteh, in his response, said it was not in the interest of the country to prevent vendors from carrying out their trade, since they helped in the dissemination of information to the citizenry.
“It is in the interest of all of us to discuss this matter, especially as the media, among their mandate, have been charged by the Constitution to hold leaders accountable to the state,” he said, adding that the business of vendors was aimed at achieving that purpose.
He indicated that it was in the interest of Ghanaians to ensure that the metropolis was rid of filth and unauthorised structures and pledged the support of the media to the activities of the AMA as long as its actions were in the interest of the nation.
Mr Tetteh, who is also the Editor of the Daily Graphic, assured Mr Adjiri-Blankson that his demands would be met within the time frame.
The President of PRINPAG and Managing Editor of the Daily Guide, Mrs Gina Ama Blay, for her part, added her voice to Mr Tetteh's call and assured the AMA of commitment on the part of the leadership of the media to comply with the deadline.
Story by Sebastian Syme