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18.03.2005 General News

Ghanaian newspapers are sub-standard - Media Gurus

By Chronicle

Chronicle -- In spite of the strength of the investigative nature of newspapers in the country, some key players in the industry have severally described Ghanaian newspapers as sub-standard.

According to them, the standard of newspaper production, with specific cognizance of the pages, as compared to even those in Nigeria and other parts of the African continent, brings to bear a vast difference in the content structure of newspapers produced in the country.

Speaking at the launching of 'The Enquirer' newspaper at a ceremony in Accra last Wednesday, Nana Kofi Coomson, publisher of the Chronicle Group of newspapers, Mr. Kweku Baako, Jnr., editor-in-chief of 'The Crusading Guide' and Alhaji Asuma Banda, a Ghanaian business tycoon, all had no other option than to pass stint comments on the contents and structure of newspapers in the country.

According to Nana Kofi Coomson, who has been in the newspaper business for a considerable number of years, and under whom many of such newspaper editors had undergone some tutelage, newspapers in Ghana do not meet international requirements, as compared to those of even other African countries where the pages of a particular newspaper is up to 80 or more.

This, he said, does not make the paper attractive on the international market.

He therefore suggested that Ghanaian newspapers do in the interest of gaining international recognition; consider expanding their page content.

He stressed that despite the fact that the newspapers have sought to unearth hidden and corrupt practices, both by government and individual interest groups, there is still a daunting task the industry has to pursue at all times to keep the people informed and educated as part of its watchdog role.

He noted that it is therefore incumbent on the newspapers, especially the private press, to hold both members of government and the public accountable to their deeds.

On his part, Mr. Kweku Baako, Jnr., noted that though the newspapers in the country have a formidable front, there is still the need for some papers to put away their selfish interest in order to merge forces to strengthen the industry since production in the country does not meet international standard.

In his view, the eight page newspapers, for instance, should consider a possible merger to have a broad spectrum in order to gain international recognition.

Alhaji Asuma Banda could not but wonder how some Ghanaian newspapers have no business plan on which they revolve their targets.

According to him, every newspaper should have a set of plans on which its operations would revolve since without a comprehensive plan, they are bound to fail.

“If you are not ready, don't go into business,” he advised.

He noted that though the country has the best of journalists, they do not have the capital to operate. This, he said, has been due to the lackadaisical attitude of the newspapers publishers themselves since most of them lack adequate planning to move their businesses.

The first copy of 'The Enquirer' newspaper was bought for ¢35million by Mr. Eddie Annan of Masai Developers fame.

Mr. Raymond Archer, the former acting editor and investigative reporter of the Chronicle newspaper, edits the new paper.

He stressed that if there was any way the paper would go a long way, it would depend on the principles of truth, objectivity, fairness, intergrity and professionalism, the tenets on which journalism is built.

According to him, the paper would be committed to the ethics of the profession and he has therefore resolved to abide by it to the letter.

He further stressed that the paper would therefore do whatever it takes to uplift the image of the profession.

Earlier, the Minister of Information, Mr. Dan Botwe, said government can help in the distribution of newspapers, especially the private ones, by establishing companies that can circulate papers efficiently throughout the country.

He added that the government was prepared to give adverts to newspapers to sustain them and wished Mr. Archer the best in the business.

The former Minister of Information, Nana Akomea, also graced the occasion.

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