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04.03.2009 General News

Book: Veep launches 'Letter to Jomo'

Book: Veep launches 'Letter to Jomo'

Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday urged journalists to demonstrate greater commitment to Ghana's democratic advancement by ensuring that their activities were consistent with efforts to safeguard national cohesion and stability.

He said, while the media had over the years exhibited some measure of responsibility, there was the need for an even higher standard if journalists were to discharge their duties in dedication to greater national ideas rather than focusing on sectional interests.

Equally, he said, the media must show keener interest in ethical reporting, even as government opened up the media space with the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act and other relevant laws intended to express commitment to open and transparent leadership.

Vice President made these observations when he launched a 327-page writ-ups titled; "Letter to Jomo", authored by Mr George Sydney Abugri, a veteran journalist.

The book is a collection of essays Mr. Abugri wrote for the 'Daily Graphic' newspaper, and it attempts to repair cracks that the author identifies in the edifice of the Ghanaian society.

The book straddled with thematic features in African literature and journalism such as the loss of confidence of the people in their leaders and offers cogent advice as to what must be done to save the situation in order to bring about fellow feeling and justice.

Stylistically, Mr Abugri relies heavily on satire and utilizes the device of mimicry, irony and paradox to create a witty repartee, which is, nonetheless, respectful of the subjects who are the butt of his "letters" and from whom he demands change.

Vice President Mahama said Mr Abugri's achievements must be a source of encouragement to journalists as to how language resources could be harnessed to make an informed comment on society.

Vice President Mahama paid homage to the literacy enterprise of Mr Abugri describing him as a "well-loved and accomplished" writer.

Touching on the relationship between African literary aesthetes and ethical leadership as typified by Mr Abugri's writings endeavours, Vice President Mahama said the author's accomplishments include the fact that "books are food for the mind".

In this regard, government, he said, would devise relevant policies that would inspire many more journalists and writers to use imaginative writing in equipping the people with ideas for growth and the promotion of social justice.

In the same way, greater efforts, he said, would be made to support the publishing industry to enable it become an effective partner in the nation's educational efforts.

Mr Abugri used a rather subdued tenor, which was rather contrary to the tone of his articles in introducing his book, arguing for state support for the publishing industry to salvage it from collapse.

He said the cost of publishing works in Ghana was quite expensive, making it difficult for men of arts other than writers of textbooks to publish their imaginative works in a bid to shape public opinion and influence polity in a positive way.

Mr. Abugri pleaded with the government to develop a national book policy to serve as the guiding principle for literacy and knowledge acquisition in Ghana.

Nana Akuoku Sarpong, Omanhene of Agogo, who chaired the function, commended Mr Abugri for the quality of his output spanning over a decade.

Starting as Mathematics cum Science teacher, Mr Abugri who holds a Master of Arts degree in Journalism has won many awards including the Ghana Journalists Association Journalist of the Year Award.