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03.07.2004 General News

Journalist urged to seek experts' advice on hard facts

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Accra, July 3, GNA - Journalists were on Friday urged to always seek experts' advice on subjects they report on, particularly, financial and economic issues to be able to give proper interpretations of issues to the public.

"Journalists are generalists and not experts, so they need to observe and understand technicalities in their areas of reportage to ensure better dissemination of news," Nana Ohene Ntow, Special Assistant to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said at the closing of a workshop held for about 30 media practitioners including financial journalists in Accra.

The workshop, dubbed: "Improved Economic and Financial Reportage Project," launched by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), with technical support from the KAB Governance Consult, under a sponsorship package of 100,000 dollars from the USAID, is supposed to benefit 100 media practitioners including financial journalists.

The first batch of journalists selected from the various media houses in the Greater Accra Region went through a 10-day workshop where they treated topics like, "The Overview of the Financial Sector; 'the Ghana Stock Exchange'; the 'Challenges of the World Trade Organisation; the 'HIPC'; the 'Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS)', ' Challenges of revenue collection' and 'Introduction to Macro Economics".

The entire project would last for nine month under which other practitioners from Kumasi in the Ashanti Region and Sekondi-Takoradi in the Western Region would undergo a training programme to improve their capacity in financial and economic reporting.

Nana Ntow said since the areas of finance and economic dealt mainly with hard facts that border mostly on statistics, journalists needed to develop their capacity by attending such training workshops to enable them to give informed and analytical reports that would enable the ordinary person understand economic options better.

Mr Andrew Awuni, Deputy Minister of Information, who chaired the function urged participants not to dwell so much on the macro economy, but to report on "ordinary basics of operations of the ordinary trader and tomato farmer and how his goods get to the market daily".

Mr Kwasi Afriyie Badu, Chief Executive Officer of KAB Governance Consult, indicated that the first batch of participants would convene on July 30, to be attached to financial institutions for a 10-day practical attachment at the credit and investment sections of such organisations to understudy their operations.

He said the attachment would start in the middle of September to August 13 and would deepened their knowledge about the operations of such institutions to be able to interpret them to their audience. Ms Adjoa Yeboah-Afari, President of the GJA advised the participants to "let the knowledge acquired at the workshop reflect in their reportage.

She commended the USAID for the assistance.