05.04.2004 General News

Journalists urged to make population stories attractive

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Accra, April 5, GNA - Ms Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on Monday called on the media to make population stories more attractive and interesting to get prominence like other political issues.

She said most population issues had not been given the required prominence because of the manner they were written, placing them in obscure pages of newspapers and magazines.

Ms Obaid made the call when interacting with members of the Media and Communication Advocacy Network (MCAN), under the umbrella of the Africa Youth Alliance (AYA) another wing of UNFPA in Accra.

She urged the media to work in partnership with governments; religious bodies and other stakeholders to ensure that population issues were given prominence.

The UNFPA Executive-Director, who is on a week's working visit to Ghana for the first time, will attend the UNFPA's regional retreat on: "Promoting Human Rights Through Culturally Sensitive Approaches". The objective of the retreat is to assist UNFPA country offices to explore, develop and implement contrarily sensitive approaches to promote population, reproductive health and rights issues including HIV/AIDS.

She would also interact with Heads of UN Agencies in Ghana, meet staff of UNFPA Ghana, visit UNFPA funded projects at Amasaman in the Ga District of the Greater Accra Region and New Abirem in the Birim North District of the Eastern Region.

Ms Obaid, who outlined the objectives of the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) held in Cairo in 1994, said 10 years down the lane had been a success realising the results from participating countries.

She said issues such as maternal mortality, adolescent sexually reproductive health issues, rights of people to better their lives would be achieved only if poverty was dealt with as stated in the ICPD by 2015. Ms Rosemary Adayfio, spokesperson of MCAN, on behalf of members, pleaded with the UNFPA to help address the challenges facing the network. She said reporting on population issues was a very complex task that needed frequent update of skills through training, adding "our various organisations cannot afford the training and we would be very glad if UNFPA takes up our training so that we can always be abreast with current population issues and report accurately".

Ms Adayfio appealed to UNFPA to develop a system that would enable members to liaise with other media groups in other countries to share knowledge and skills.

Ms Araba Otuwaa and Leslie MarCathy of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and Peace FM, respectively, took turns to address the gathering on the challenges facing the media in their reportage on population and reproductive issues.

They mentioned language and the choice of words as some of the challenges.

"It is very difficult in our part of the world to mention names of the reproductive organs in our local dialect but it is easier in the English language and this makes education very difficult in our local dialect", Ms Otuwa said.

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