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24.06.2004 General News

Ghanaian Journalists to be exposed to German electoral process

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Accra, June, GNA - The German Government is organising a study tour for a number of Ghanaian Journalists to the Federal State to observe the coverage of elections as a means of equipping them to cover this year's Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

The Journalists, who would be selected from the Electronic and Print Media for the tour, are expected to be in Germany, in September, under a "Special Programme for Ghanaian Journalists on Election", to cover the electoral process in three Federal States.

Mr Peter Linder, German Ambassador made this known at a meeting with the Management and Senior Editorial Staff of the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday.

The programme, being organised by the German Foreign Office, in collaboration with the Goethe Institute, include visits to the headquarters and campaign offices of the various political parties and also offer the Journalists the opportunity to cover public rallies, witness the vote counting process and interact with election officials. Mr Linder said the programme should not be misrepresented to mean that Germans had no confidence in the ability of Ghanaian Journalists to cover elections.

He said it should rather be viewed as efforts to deepen the spirit of cooperation between Ghana and Germany and part of a general programme to enhance the coverage of the December elections.

The Ambassador said German commitment to the electoral process in Ghana stemmed from the role the country was playing in maintaining and enforcing peace in trouble spots in the West African Sub-Region and the leadership responsibility of President John Agyekum Kufuor as Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Mr Linder, who spent about an hour to acquaint himself with the general operations of the GNA, commended the appropriate manner the Agency was carrying out its mandate.

Mr Robert Kafui Johnson, the General Manager, thanked the Ambassador for including the GNA in the training programme in Germany. He said the Agency was engaged in corporate reforms to commercialise its activities as part of Government Reform Policy for the Public Sector.

Mr Johnson said the clientele of the GNA were not in the position to pay economic rates for its services adding that when the subscription fees were increased a number of them fell off. He said under the circumstances it was becoming difficult for the Agency to wean itself completely from the national budget.

Nana Appau Duah, Supervising Chief Editor, said although the Agency received Government subvention, it is very independent, fair and accurate in its operations.

Mr Boakye-Dankwa Boadi, Chief Editor in charge of the Home Desk, said the impact of the GNA was enormous and that 64 radio stations, television stations and on-line subscribers relied on GNA Bulletins. He said content analysis indicated that on the average the print media alone carried more than 50 news items from GNA in a day.

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