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19.04.2004 General News

GJA President advocates appraisal of Association's Constitution

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Kumasi, April 19, GNA- Ms. Ajoa Yeboah Afari, President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has urged members to appraise the association's new draft constitution and make recommendations where necessary for updating some of the laws.

She was not happy that the last time the constitution was reviewed was about some 16 years ago and said there was the need to bring the constitution up to date to be able to stand the test of time. Ms Yeboah-Afari was interacting with the members of the Ashanti Regional branch of the GJA in Kumasi at the weekend on her maiden visit to the region to express her appreciation and gratitude to the members for giving her the mandate to lead the association.

The visit also afforded her the opportunity to hear some of the problems members had had to grapple with in the region, prominent among them being the proliferation of Journalists, some of whom were dragging the name of the profession in the mud.

The GJA President, though admitting that it was becoming a nationwide problem said one of the ways to flush out the quacks was to either alert organisers of events about their presence or report them to the police.

She said very soon the executive of the GJA would meet all chief executives of the private radio stations to find ways of bringing decency into the operations of their stations.

This move, she said had become necessary in view of the proliferation of FM radio stations all over the country, which had created a problem where the code of ethics of journalism practices had been relegated to the background.

In as much as the crucial role of the electronic media in enhancing the socio-economic development of the country could not be overlooked, care must be taken to ensure that a few radio presenters did not hijack their stations to cause disaffection.

Miss Yeboah-Afari hinted that the association was looking for sponsorship to engage the services of resident consultants in the regions who would be mandated to give in-service training to media practitioners who had not had any formal training to update their skills and knowledge on a pilot basis.

The members raised a number of issues bothering them including the complete neglect of the regions when it came to the organisation and attendance to workshops and seminars, pointing out that these were concentrated only in Accra.

They also complained about the mode of selecting the Journalist of the year and said the criteria completely alienated the regions from ever winning since the present criteria had given an advantage to their colleagues in Accra and at best the work of a journalist in the region was classified as rural reporting.

The Ashanti Regional branch suggested the strengthening of the regional awards from where the award winners could then compete for national honours.

This, in their view, would be a fair assessment of the work of media practitioners in the country so that those in Accra did not have undue advantage.

The GJA President said, since this was a very thorny issue, all branches should submit proposals for discussion at the annual delegates meeting to be held soon.

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