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15.12.2003 General News

PR practitioners urged to chart course to sanitise communication.

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Accra, Dec 15, GNA - Mr Kojo Yankah, the new President of the Institute of the Public Relations (IPR) Ghana, on Monday urged Public Relation (PR) practitioners to chart a course that would help the country to sanitise its communication, from the national level to the lowest organisation.

He said, "Our communication environment needs cleaning up- from the company level, from the political party to another, from one newspaper or radio station to another, from one phone-in caller to another, we need a new refreshing sense of direction".

Mr Yankah who was a former Minister of State in the previous government, was giving his inaugural address at the fourth investiture of the 2004/2005 executive council of the IPR in Accra. He noted "in a democratic country where our communication should be based on tolerance, apologies for offending each other for abusive language, and the willingness to hold hands and construct the country together, we are communicating more intolerance, more polarisation, more antagonism and more hatred for each other".

Mr Yankah said Ghanaians had virtually reduced all issues to partisan denominations, allowing very little time for objectively debate for constructive solutions to problems instead of concentrating on how to wriggle the country out of the complex economic and political international web in order to gain credible identity and image. He said "public relations at the national level was restricted to who was creating or who has created more problems for Ghana, rather than on how we can be creative as a united people to deal with the alarming yawning problems of underdevelopment, poverty, ignorance and hopelessness."

Mr Yankah, therefore, asked Public Relations practitioners to use effective communication skills that builds and creates rather than destroy, to create a positive public relations environment in the country.

Outlining some of the activities to be undertaken to better the lot of the Institute and members, Mr Yankah said he and his team would introduce new professional courses including those in information and communication technology to enhance the performance of PR practitioners.

He also said the formation of PR associations or societies in journalism and management training institutions would be encouraged. Mr Yankah said the new council would introduce a scheme whereby individuals who were outstanding in their own right, as effective communicators would be considered for honorary membership of the IPR. Mr Bimpong, the out-going President, IPR indicated that the institute had made noble gains both in its finances and membership strength which has increased from 258 in 1999 to 512 this year. He said the institute intend to engage a substantive executive secretary to manage the secretariat to be able to increase IPR's sources of revenue.

Mr Bimpong also said the initiative would ensure capacity building and boost the image of the IPS as a truly professional body with an administrative structure that would define the duties of the staff of the secretariat.

The council has also ordered about 200-dollar worth of books on communication to augment the stock of it library to enhance PR education.

Mr Bimpong announced that the IPR would launch the IPR excellence awards scheme early next year and that an adjudicating board was working towards the first award night to be held next year. Professor Justice Paaku Kludze, a Supreme Court Judge swore the new executive council and members headed by Mr Yankah into office. They took over from the old Council led by Mr Kwaku Osei Bimpong, head of PR at the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT).

Prof Kludze said with the introduction of the information bill, PR practitioners would soon have easy access to information, which they should disseminate impartially with all fairness.

There were fraternal messages from other sister organisations and institutions including the Ghana Journalists Association, National Media Commission, Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana, which congratulated the new council and urged them to work hard to promote high professional standards. 15 Dec, 03

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