Accra, March 08, GNA - Contestants for the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) 2006 elections were on Tuesday stretched by their colleagues as to why they should be elected to lead them. The Association organised a forum for the contestants to test their ingenuity and competencies to make it a more enviable one. They answered questions on how to move the association forward, improvement in activities of journalists and the dichotomy between state and private media institutions.
Mr Ransford Tetteh, vying for the Presidency, observed that there was the need to deal with apathy that had engulfed the association to bring every member on board.
He said sentiments on behalf and those against the government as well as state or private media grumbling should be a thing of the past. Mr Tetteh said when given the nod, he would work assiduously to create equal opportunity for all members regardless to which media house they operate to enable them feel proud that they belonged to an enviable and respected profession irrespective of their political or ideological leanings.
He stressed the need for improvement of professional skills of members and grooming of the young in the profession to assume leadership positions in future to appreciate the qualities of being "team players." Ms Sarah Akrofi-Quarcoo, another contestant for the Presidency said she would develop a personal programme to enhance the quality of life of members particularly after their retirement.
"It is pathetic to witness the miserable living conditions of most journalists on retirement, "She added.
Ms Akrofi-Quarcoo said competent professional development goals would be her pre-occupation with accountability and responsibility as the driving force when voted into office.
She pledged to reactivate the association's website at the Ghana International Press Centre to make it more viable.
Ms Akrofi-Quarcoo said steps would be taken to enhance the financial status of GJA, make it more independent and self-financing to build self-respect required of an association.
She promised to pursue the GJA's development programme, which included creation of conference and multimedia facilities to improve on its finances.
Mr Affail Monney, vying for the Vice President position promised to assist the new administration to address the needs of members by promoting exchange programmes for cross-fertilization of ideas. He said efforts would be made to ensure the media did not serve clients with products that were factually deficient, professionally toxic and full of garbage and be dragged to the courts. Ms Charity Binka, another contestant for the Vice President said human resource development would be intensified to make members become proud to belong to an association of repute to contribute effectively to national development. She said this would involve encouraging members to specialise in some aspects of the profession to build up their confidence and enhance critical thinking. Ms Binka pledged to endeavour to strengthen the regional chapters and create new chapters to ensure every member participated in activities of the association. Ms Yaa Oforiwah Acquah, incumbent Treasurer seeking for another mandate said her good works had left an indelible mark on the minds of most members who had urged her to continue with another tenure of office. She said her strong knack in mobilizing funds and effective collaboration of the various administrations resulted in the establishment of the GJA edifice. Ms Acquah promised to maintain financial accountability and transparency that had been in existence over the years saying, "I have always ensured that the books were audited annually to erase doubt of misappropriation." Ms Esi Asante, vying for the post of a Treasurer underscored the need to bring youthful exuberance into the affairs of the association. She said old ideas over the period had become stale and new ideas were required to re-energize the association. Ms Asante called for the establishment of a GJA Support Fund, to offer members the opportunity to access soft loans and retire "with some perk to live a decent life." "I have consulted some organisations such as the TUC and indications are that with our numerical strength, the idea is feasible," she added. Mr Alfred Ogbamey, seeking the position of Organizing Secretary said GJA, which used to be vibrant and well-known organisation had had some downturns recently and required the injection of energy to return to its original status. He said members should be galvanized to have a sense of belongingness and get everybody on board regardless of his/her professional status. "We need someone who understands both the private and state media to put the two sides together and work out strategies for members to broaden their knowledge base since knowledge is inexhaustible," he added.
Mr Dave Agbenu, also contesting for Organising Secretary pledged to work towards building the shattered image of GJA and facilitate unity among members.
He said division among members was unfortunate and efforts should be made to bring them together adding; "Division should be a thing of the past."
Mr Agbenu suggested that GJA should declare a 'week of celebrations' to bring members together under the same umbrella.