Ghana MPs lament poor working conditions of journalists
Members of Parliament have expressed concern about the poor working conditions of journalists in the country and urged media owners to improve the conditions of service of media workers.
They said the conditions of service of journalists were making them susceptible to manipulation and inducement by the well-to-do in the society.
The MPs were contributing to a statement on the floor of the House by the Member of Parliament for Tano North, Ms Freda Prempeh, to commemorate World Press Day which falls on May 3.
In her statement, the MP said the 2013 Word Press Freedom Index comprising 179 countries ranked Ghana 30th and that confirmed that journalists in the country had relatively more freedom to work.
She called for measures to improve the country’s press freedom initiatives to enable Ghana move higher on the index.
Ms Prempeh called on the National Media Commission (NMC), Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and all stakeholders to collaborate to protect journalists to enable them exercise their rights to free expression with the highest sense of professionalism.
Ms Prempeh also called for the immediate end of attacks on journalists since it send a signal to the wider public to keep quiet about corruption, environmental damage and human rights violations.
The results of such attacks, she noted, was “self-censorship across a society and an erosion of public faith in the judicial system.”
Contributing to the statement, MP for Sanerigu, Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini, said Ghanaian journalists were poorly paid among the working force in the country, explaining that the situation was likely to lead to manipulation.
The MP for Wa West, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, who could not fathom why Ghanaian journalists were been subjected to poor remuneration, said the time was ripe for them to enjoy the fruit of their labour.
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993 following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference.
The Day is meant to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The legislators also called for series of periodic training programmes for journalists to help build on their capacities in order to perform better in their respective roles assigned to them.
The members asked the government, media owners and other stakeholders in the media landscape to adequately resource journalists with the requisite tools to enhance their service delivery.
The MPs said it was about time that measures were put in place to regulate the media landscape, as well as sanitise the practice in order not to compromise the quality of information journalists passed onto the general public.
The MP for Odododiodioo, Nii Lantey Vanderuye, said improving on the condition of service of journalists would bring about responsible reportage, saying “ the press hold the lather to keep countries or put them apart”.
He lamented that some practicing journalists have not had the opportunity to undergo proper training and used the opportunity to call on the Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation (GBC) to offer training facilities to journalist from other media houses to ensure professionalism.
Adding his voice to the statement was the MP for Nsawam- Adoagyiri, Frank Annoh-Dompreh noted that the state owned media had over the years been influenced by successive governments and called on the ruling government to arrest the situation and safeguard the independence of the state owned media.
Source: Daily Graphic