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25.02.2005 Tabloid News

SOLI!

By Harruna Attah (ADM)

Talking about "soli" and the other things besetting Ghanaian journalists in the ethics sector, I spoke of all those free lunches and dinners that we all seem to enjoy so much!

It reminded me of an episode in Washington DC a few years ago when together with about 10 other media people from Africa I visited one of the press clubs in the city.

Salivating quite away at lunchtime, we all tucked ravenously into what was placed before us. After lunch as we sat licking our greasy lips, we were told that we each individually had to pay for what we had eaten!

You should have seen the consternation on our faces! Grousing darkly, we complained about the "unfairness" of it all. Why invite us to lunch and ask us to pay?

The response was polite with embarrassment: Here journalists are supposed to settle their own bills! On another occasion, an East African colleague said he had been able to build his house from the "payments" he received from this or that assignment. Our American host's jaw dropped!

It is big task, but we must keep trying to clean our act.

Poverty, bad pay etc., would continue to stand in the way and so instead of removing ourselves from society and crowning ourselves as watchdogs, we must also remember that those watchdog fangs are equally laden with rabies causing microbes!

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