Accra, Feb. 14, GNA - Mr Rex Owusu-Ansah, Chairman of the Board of Ghana News Agency (GNA), on Tuesday received a 17-paged report from a Committee tasked to investigate industrial disharmony in the wire-service organisation and pledged that the Board would peruse the recommendations and issue a white paper in two weeks.
The Board, on August 23, 2004, commissioned the seven-member committee, chaired by Dr Akuamoa Bonsu Kwaku Anane, a member, to investigate issues that were causing industrial disputes at the Agency. Mr Musah Abdulai, Mrs Gina Ama Blay also represented the Board on the Committee. Mr Kofi Asamoah, member of the National Media Commission, Mr Richard Ampaabeng, member of the Public Services Workers Union and Mr James Ampadu, Acting Director of the Ministry of Information represented their respective organisations.
Five main issues, which related to the structure of the Agency, tribal sentiments, labour disputes, the Auditor-General's Report on Salaries and the GNA's relations with one of its external news sources, the German News Agency (DPA), were investigated.
Mr Owusu-Ansah, who expressed gratitude to the Committee for their dedication to the task, which lasted over a year, said members of the Board would be dispassionate and fair in deliberating on the report.
"We would thoroughly examine the report and its appendices, interface with our colleagues and issue a white paper, which would contain informed and unbiased decisions," he stressed.
"No matter the controversies, we would not personalise the issues and ensure that the significance of today, (Valentine's Day), which is a day of love and peace, would characterise our deliberations."
Mr Owusu-Ansah, a Former Clerk of Ghana's Parliament and who recently helped in setting up the African Parliament, said the industrial disharmony at GNA had stalled the work of the Board and expressed the hope that the well-packaged report would offer great relief towards the Agency's progress.
He called for tolerance and restraint for the Board to conclude its work and to make it public, cautioning that leaking and sensationalising the findings until then would not serve any good purpose.
Dr Anane explained that though the Committee was initially given two-weeks to complete its task, it realised after another week's extension that it needed a much longer period having considered the enormity and nature of the assignment.
However, he noted that the outcome justified the long duration of the investigations, which involved 17 sittings that heard and assessed voluntary and requested submissions, interviews as well as the consideration of documents.
Members of the Committee, he said, were unanimous in the recommendations on almost all the issues.
Mrs Blay, who is also President of the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana, said the fact-finding process was painstakingly done and urged all stakeholders of GNA to accept it in good faith and be committed to its implementation for the benefit of the Agency.
"Every institution has problems and so long as the Agency exists, problems would arise," she noted, but added that should the Management implement the recommendations, GNA's problems would be drastically curtailed.
Mr Asamoah, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress, and the other members of the Committee, expressed similar concerns and said they had benefited significantly from the experience. Labour issues, they advised, should always be handled with tact, diplomacy and fairness to ensure peace and harmony.
Nana Apau Duah, Acting General Manager of GNA and Mr Felix Forson, Acting Administrative Manager, were present at the ceremony.