The Network of Communication Reporters (NCR), a group made up of journalists with specialization and interest in Information Communication Technology (ICT) and telecoms issues, have pledged their commitment in ensuring economic growth through the development of the ICT industry in the country.
Charles Benoni Okine, Dean of the NCR said, 'We pledge our commitment in ensuring that ICT becomes a major driver of economic growth in the country, given the sector's enormous and largely under-tapped potential.'
He noted that 'the Network will constantly keep an eye on government policy implementation in the area of ICT as a contribution to ensuring that the country gets the best out of every ICT project.'
Mr. Okine, who was speaking at the official inauguration of the Network in Accra, said the group had closely monitored the various transformations in policy direction in the telecommunications sector, which include the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration; Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and presently the drive towards migrating into the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), which is expected to be fully rolled out by the end of 2014.
This, he said, 'is ambitious and the NCR would want to pledge its commitment to help in the education of the public on the digital migration for it to become another major success.'
He entreated the ministry and other players in the industry to also help broaden the knowledge of members through workshops and seminars to enable them better understand the issues so they could be in a better position to pass on the information to the public.
Mr. Okine stated emphatically that 'the Network is not formed to do the bidding of any player in the sector, the regulator or the ministry. Members will be as objective as possible ensuring utmost fairness in its reportage and advocacy work in the interest of the consumer.'
NCR, which is an affiliate of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), is aimed at bringing together communicators with interests in ICT reporting; equipping journalists/communicators with skills in ICT reporting; educating and informing the general public on ICT issues and advocating for ICT as a paramount tool for development and access to international communities.
NCR will also serve as a business and social networking platform for members and key sector actors.
William Tevie, the Director General of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA), who represented the Deputy Minister of Communications, stated that NCR could not have come at a better time when Ghana's communication sector in general, and the telecom industry in particular has gone into the annals of the world as one of the most dynamic in the emerging markets.
He said 'there is a growing number of start ups in the ICT industry comprising of young software developers, SMS aggregators and several other industry service providers that are adding to the dynamism of the industry by the day.'
He expressed the hope that NCR would work hard and give the industry the coverage it deserves.
Dorothy Gordon , Director General of the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT and a patron of the NCR, said there has not been enough reportage on ICT related issues considering the rapid growth in the industry.
She therefore called on members of the group 'to use social media platforms to discuss issues about Ghana and its growth and policy direction on ICT.'
The event, which was supported by Vodafone, Nokia, Airtel, MTN, Tigo and Alltel, was also used to inaugurate the 12 executives of the group.
A Business Desk Report