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07.11.2005 General News

GJA launches new constitution

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Accra, Nov. 7, GNA - The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on Monday launched its new Constitution, which seeks to project the Association's commitment to fight for the development of equitable knowledge society.

The 78-page pocket-sized copy has a navy blue cover with the emblem of the Association embedded at the top centre. It is sub-divided into 13 parts with 57 articles.

Part one focuses on the Association, Part Two - membership, Part Three - governing structure, Part Four - functions and powers of national officers, Part Five - removal of executives from office, Part six - the Ghana International Press Centre, Part seven - committees of the association.

Part Eight is on meetings of the Association, Part Nine - media accountability and self-regulation, Part Ten - GJA elections and electoral processes, Part Eleven - finances, Part Twelve - amendments to the constitution and Part Thirteen - transitional arrangements. The preamble of the Constitution sets out five clear goals. These include; to serve as the watchdog of the people's right and liberties and fight against all forms of infringements or abuse of rights, to promote the attainment of high professional standards, and integrity and media accountability.

Members would also strive for public accountability, promote democratic good governance and social cohesion by members of the mass media and ensure self-regulations among members. Setting out the aims and objectives of the association, Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, GJA President, said it seeks to promote professionalism and high journalistic standards, strengthen the contribution of members to the growth of democracy and good governance and protect and strengthen the rights of members.

She said it also seeks to respect and defend freedom of expression, pluralism of the media and universal access to information, promote good relations with local and international communication training institutions, media establishments, governmental and non-governmental organisations in furtherance of the association's objectives. The GJA President said the association would work towards improving the conditions of service of members, promote media accountability and self-regulation, strive to provide legal protection and moral support for members where necessary and reward and honour outstanding members periodically.

Dr Ken Attafuah of the National Governance Programme who launched the Constitution urged the media to defend minority rights, promote public respect, and uphold the principles of the Constitution. He tasked the GJA to organise forums to educate members on the tenets of the GJA Constitution as well as the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

Dr Attafuah expressed concern about the daily newspaper review on the airwaves and its attendant phone-in interjections and called for injection of media professionalism into the programmes. Mr Kwesi Afriyie-Badu, Chief Executive Officer of KAB Governance Consult, who chaired the launch appealed to the National Media Commission (NMC) to equip all broadcasting stations with delay communication equipment to serve as medium for the control of phone-in programmes.

The nine-member GJA Constitutional Review Committee was chaired by Mr Kwesi Cab-Addae, a lawyer and representatives from Ghana News Agency, Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Ghana Institute of Journalism, Ghanaian Times, Graphic Communications Group, TV 3 and the Private Newspaper Publisher Associations of Ghana.

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