The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) is to dialogue with the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana, the Independent Broadcasters Association and other stakeholders on conditions of service of journalists and the engagement of untrained personnel in the profession.
The GJA believes that addressing such issues would help to sanitise the media landscape by reducing to the barest minimum, the situation where some media personnel misconduct themselves by extorting or clamouring for money and other inducements, and also check the activities of quacks.
Ransford Tetteh, president of the GJA, announced this in Accra on Saturday during a dinner dance organised by the Parliamentary Press Corps as part of its 15th anniversary celebration.
Mr. Tetteh said one issue that threatens the practice of journalism in the country is the issue of low remuneration and the mushrooming of journalism schools which are producing half-baked journalists, saying, 'it is not good enough for employers to open their doors to untrained personnel.'
He said the dialogue will examine ways of bringing about respectability in the journalism profession and ensure high journalistic standards, adding that members need to peer review themselves and check those who are undermining the profession.
He acknowledged the crucial role of the Parliamentary Press Corps in bringing Parliament to the doorstep of the citizenry over the past 15 years and in democratic governance in general, and urged the corps to uphold it.
Mr. Alban Bagbin, the Minority Leader in Parliament, for his part urged the Corps to ensure that governance is open and accountable and to ensure that the country’s resources are properly utilised.
He said the House would give the corps more opportunities to build members’ capacities by allowing the press to participate in conferences and committee sittings of MPs and also ensure that facilities that will enhance the work of journalists in the House are provided.
Mr. John Mahama, MP for Bole-Bamboi and vice-presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress, stressed the need for the public to cooperate to make Ghana a wealthy place, saying, it does not matter which party and ethnic group one belongs to.
He said the corps has been helpful in translating to the people the meaning of parliamentary democracy, but said that there is room for improvement.
Professor Christopher Ameyaw-Akumfi, Minister of Harbours and Railways, who was the guest of honour, urged the corps to educate the people on the actual functions of MPs and advised the corps to give write-ups on laws passed and bills approved by the House, instead of focusing on sensationalism.
He advocated the provision of facilities that will enable the press to transmit what happens in the House.
Andrew Edwin Arthur, Dean of the press corps, said that the few errors on the part of journalists in their reportage should not be taken as a deliberate attempt to run down a particular MP.
He however, advised members to detach partisan considerations and biases from their reports, resolving to always push forward the national agenda.