Mr Gayheart Edem Mensah, a presidential aspirant of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has pledged to build the professional capacity of journalists, which is non-negotiable, when given the nod.
“We need to build our professional capacity, competencies and skills as a group and reposition ourselves innovatively and embrace the new trends in journalism practice to meet standards,” he said.
Mr Mensah said with his years of practice as a journalist, communication professional and lecturer, he had devoted his time to professional development, which had manifested in the lives of the many who learnt under his tutelage.
Addressing staff of the Ghana News Agency in Tema as part of his campaign tour ahead of the GJA Election, Mr Mensah said as one who had benefited immensely from training programmes organised by the Association, he would prioritise capacity building and take professionalism a notch-higher.
He said adhering to the Ethics of the profession was important in ensuring that the journalism profession was valued and practitioners respected in all endeavours to carry out their functions effectively.
Mr Mensah said as part of his POWER-up (Professionalism, Organisation, Welfare, Empowerment, Respect and Restoration) model to resuscitating the Association, he would not only enhance journalistic professionalism but ensure the re-organisation of the Association at all levels to give it a new lease of life.
He said the current state of the GJA Secretariat was uninspiring as it was not serving the collective interest of its members, adding that: “A new leadership with a tract record to develop the Association is needed, and I am the best bet.”
Speaking on the attacks on journalists and their welfare generally, Mr Mensah said: “The Association ought to be proactive and mitigate attacks on journalists and not wait for such attacks to happen before issuing statements; as it is, nothing is being done to protect us and that must change,” he said.
The Association, Mr Mensah said, must have a stronger voice on critical national issues and strengthen its relevance as the Fourth Estate of the Realm not merely rhetorically, but backed by truth and practice.
He said as part of empowering journalists and ensuring their welfare was taken seriously, he would establish a “guideline for the protection of journalists on assignment, guide their conduct and guarantee their safety in the performance of their legally mandated duties.”