09.05.2004 General News

GNA Petition

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Agona Swedru (C/R), May 9, GNA - The Ghana News Agency (GNA) Managers' Conference held at Agona Swedru in the Central Region at the weekend has petitioned the Board of the Agency to expedite the release of budgetary allocation for service activities from the Ministry of Finance.

This would enable the Agency to procure the necessary logistics to effectively provide news coverage for this year's general election. The Board should also solicit assistance from Ghana's Development Partners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), District and Metropolitan Assemblies.

A communiqu=E9 issued at the end of the Conference noted that this year's election was crucial for the sustenance of Ghana's fledging democracy and the need for credible, unbiased and accurate reportage, for which GNA is particularly noted, could not be taken for granted. The Conference specifically solicited the assistance of the Board in the acquisition of computers, fax machines, tape recorders and operational vehicles for the Agency's Regional and District Offices, which are the nerve centres of its news-gathering and disseminating operations.

It noted that the inability of the Agency to give adequate news coverage to the entire country was due to budgetary constraints and the lack of office and residential accommodation for Correspondents in some of the districts.

"With the creation of new districts, there is the compelling need to give adequate coverage to these districts to facilitate their developmental process and the GNA, by virtue of its wide network is the only media organization well placed for this task," the communiqu=E9 said.

The Conference said if well resourced and adequately equipped, the linkage between the people and Government.

In response, the Chairman of the Board, Mr Rex Owusu-Ansah pledged to bring the Conference's request to the attention of the relevant authorities and to contact the Country's Development Partners as well as NGOs for assistance.

He promised to provide office and residential accommodation for the accommodation to the GNA at Agona Swedru and a Correspondent would be posted there soon and urged other assemblies to emulate them.

Mr Owusu-Ansah, who chaired the opening ceremony of the three-day Conference, commended the Agency for its high journalistic standards in spite of severe financial and logistic constraints and urged the staff to continue with the good work.

Mr Wilson Kusi-Atansah, Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), said it was heart-warming that many years of neglect had not dampened the spirit of the staff as they continued to tackle the challenges confronting them and commended them for their resilience in the face of multiple problems.

He, however, expressed regret that peace and harmony had eluded the Agency for quite some time due to internal bickering among staff, as well as between staff and Management.

Mr Kusi-Atansah cited anonymous letter writing and articles in the media that impacted negatively on the Agency, describing it as "not good enough for the progress of the Agency" and called for peace and harmony. Mr Robert Kafui Johnson, General Manager of the GNA, in a welcoming address, urged staff to apply themselves diligently to the task ahead, especially as the Agency was now at the crossroads of re-engineering. The Conference, which had as its theme: "GNA: Resetting the Pace", brought together Regional Managers from all over the country and Sectional Heads from Headquarters in Accra.

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