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19.06.2005 General News

Information Minister assures regional reporters


Tamale, June 19, GNA - Mr. Daniel Botwe, Minister of Information has said it is necessary for reporters in the regions enjoy equal opportunities with their counterparts at national capital by way of training and courses to motivate them to carry out their work diligently.

"It is those of you in the regions that we have to rely on for information and if you are not well treated, you would not be able to give us up-to date information" he added.

Mr. Botwe said this on Friday when he paid a one-day working visit to media organizations under his Ministry in Tamale to interact with the media personnel and their regional heads. The visit was also to afford the Minister the opportunity to learn at first hand the problems the media go through in the region regarding and how best the ministry could help improve upon the situation.

The minister visited the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), the New Times Corporation and the Information Services Department (ISD) where and interacted with the personnel and the heads.

He expressed strong concern about the difficulties journalists go through in the work in the regions and gave an assurance that he would start working on them as soon as he got back to Accra.

"I assure you that by Tuesday, I will call all the media heads in Accra to inform them about the problems you tabled to me and I will let them know that is necessary for them to motivate you" he stressed.

Mr. Botwe who was accompanied by Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister said those media personnel who were working in the regions, particularly northern region should be highly motivated due to the size of the region and problems they encounter in their daily reportage.

At the Ghana News Agency, the Minister commended the journalist on their efforts at seeking and disseminating information in the face of extreme difficulties.

He said: "I am proud of you in the Tamale office because the conditions here are nothing to write home about but the news is flowing accurately and regularly. "It is sad that you don't have even a motor-bike to make you mobile for crosschecking of stories if the need arises" he said and added that he would ensure that facilities in the Tamale office were improved. Mr Botwe however urged the urged reporters in the regions to put up their best to hold high the name of their media organizations and to ensure continuous flow of information from the regions, stressing incentive packages to motivate them.

Mr. Botwe said teachers posted to rural areas have some incentive packages to motivate them to stay and work, and, "this should also be reflected in journalism since they are exposed to all forms of hazards especially those working in conflict areas" he said.

At GBC, Mr. Mensah Nyarko, Regional Manager of the station deplored the high electricity tariffs and power instability because of six additional stations and said that is what would finally "kill" the station in transmitting to other parts of the districts. The Minister lauded the Graphic Communications Group in the region and said, "As for Graphic, you have no problem to complain to me because everything in your office is good".

At the New Times Corporation the staff complained of inadequate office accommodation saying, "Our main problem is that we have only one office that accommodates reporters, circulation officers and the Photographer making it difficult for reporters to write stories in a peaceful atmosphere".

The minister earlier visited some chiefs and Muslim leaders in the region where he launched the abridged vision in Dagbani of the President's State of the Nation Address.

Later at a press soiree Mr. Daniel Botwe assured the media of the government's continuous commitment to freedom of speech and expression and that the government would not in any way interfere in the work of the media.

Mr. Alhassan Imoro, Northern regional chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) appealed to Regional Coordinating Councils (RCC) to consider auctioning over aged vehicles to media personnel to facilitate their work.

Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister called on the media particularly those in the North to be circumspect in their reportage on the Dagbon issue to avoid inflaming passion. He said the situation was scaring away potential investors into the region and the RCC would do all it could to assist media personnel in the region to discharge their duties.