Accra, Feb 26, GNA - The Reverend Dr Mensah Otabil, General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church on Saturday, advised media practitioners to fight poverty, diseases and ethnocentrism that had engulfed the society. "Journalists must craft messages and present them in such a way that will help free the minds of the people instead of imprisoning them to wallow in pain and in low-self esteem". Dr Otabil, who is also the Chancellor of the Central University College, said this at the first graduation of the Africa Institute of Journalism and Communications, (AIJC), a private journalism school in Accra.
A total of 56 out of the 67 who first enrolled passed out and were awarded diploma certificates in Communication Studies with eight of them distinguishing themselves and receiving special prizes for their outstanding performances in various fields. Speaking on the theme for the occasion: "Training Communication Professionals in Support of Socio-Economic Development", Dr Otabil said journalists could offer a critical intervention in today's information world by churning out information that would have positive transformation in the lives of the people. Such information, he said should be carried out in a language that would be understood by the people to motivate them to strive for the best.
Mr Kojo Yankah, President of AIJC, in his report said the school had a total enrolment of 223 with 143 females and 80 males. He said the school was affiliated with the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) and currently was offering the same subjects except that "we have had to deepen attention for certain areas to reflect our orientation and mission". The Institute was ready to liase with other sister institutions to revamp their syllabi to reflect the demand of today by imbibing in students the zeal to intensify reportage on the economy, environment, and the arts and culture instead of doing only political journalism.
Mr Yankah announced that the Institute had embarked on improving its library stock and was expecting delivery of books estimated at 1,000 dollars from the Netherlands, adding that, a non-governmental organisation had purchased three digital tape recorders for the school to be used for training. He said the management of AIJC was still planning to apply for accreditation to run the four-year Degree course in Communications Studies, expected to start from October 2006.
Ms Joyce Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, who chaired the function, advised communicators to maintain the focus on reporting on pillars of socio-economic development which were, water, sanitation, energy, transport, health, environment, agriculture and biodiversity. "You must strive to unravel all mystery surrounding agriculture and bioderversity. You must endeavour to convince governments and businesses that investing in nature conservation makes economic and business sense".
Among students who received the awards was Ms Emelia Ennin, presently on National Service with the Ghana News Agency who received the Photo Club Award in Photo Journalism and had for her prize, one million cedis and a Kodak digital camera.