Outgone GJA President Urges Journalists To Be Bold In Telling The Truth

Social Journalists Fear Affail Monney
Social Journalists Fear Affail Monney

Mr Roland Affail Monney, outgoing President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has charged media practitioners to be bold and courageous in the discharge of their mandate.

He said it was unfortunate that culture of silence was creeping back into the Ghanaian media space despite the current liberal environment that existed.

Speaking at the launch of a media programme which seeks to celebrate and reward outstanding media practitioners and friends of the media for their contributions to the profession, in Accra, the outgoing President of the GJA, said journalists must reignite the spirit of crusading-journalism and hold authorities to accountability without fear.

The programme dubbed: “Media in Ghana: The Bold, Beautiful, Ugly and the Mavericks (Media BBUM)” seeks to confer public recognition on persons who have made significant sacrifices and contributions to media development, including excellence in the practice of journalism.

It also seeks to infuse a culture of boldness and journalism-crusading in Ghanaian media practice and prepare Ghanaian journalists for the next phase of media freedoms following the passage of the Right to Information law.
It is organised by the Centre for Communication and Culture in partnership with the GJA, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and the Sports Writers Association of Ghana.

Other partners are; Private Newspaper Printers Association of Ghana, International Public Relations and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr Monney said even though the present environment could not be compared to what existed in the early days of the profession, journalists were timid in voicing out their opinion on issues of national concern.

“The present environment cannot compare to what we inherited in those early days when the media were kept on a tight leash, when the media were shackled by all kinds of obnoxious…….., when the entire nation was enveloped in a culture of silence.

“But it boggles the mind that even in this liberal environment, some journalists allow themselves to be constricted by fear and this affects their output,” he said.

He added that: “Please note that journalism is not for timid, timorous souls. Journalism is not for lily-livered people. It is for those who are brave to tell truth to power and hold people in positions of power and accountability to account.”

He said this must give journalists the courage to critically scrutinise authorities and speak truth to power without fear or favour.

Commenting on the Centre for the Media BBUM initiative, Mr Monney said recognising and promoting the country’s legend journalists would bring about a qualitative improvement in Ghana’s media landscape.

The programme was launched on the theme: “Our 4th Estate, Past and Present: The Pillars to Remember.”
In all, 13 outstanding media practitioners and friends of the media would be awarded in the maiden edition of the programme which starts in July this year.

These are; Kofi Badu, Cameron Duodu, Elizabeth Ohene, Adjoa Yeboah-Afari, Kwesi Pratt, Kabral Blay-Amihere and Kweku Sakyi Addo.

The rest include; Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Nana Kofi Coomson, Professor Kwame Karikari, Kwame Osei Bonsu, Anthony Akoto Ampaw and Godwin Avenorgbo.

Mr Enimil Ashon, Executive Director, Centre for Communication and Culture, said journalists needed special post qualification training to embolden them to fearlessly confront impunity and expose wrongs, and corruption.
“Ghana still has crusading journalists, but the crusade is now against corruption, graft, arbitrariness, impunity and physical assault on journalists,”

He said a post qualification improvement training was required to empower them to hold authorities to accountability.
Outlining the programme for the Media BBUM, Mr Ashon said, from July 2022, there would be an interview with selected celebrants to be broadcast on GBC, to share their stories with the public.

He added that, in September this year, the selected journalists would be rewarded at a ceremony to be held in Accra, adding that 30-minute composite documentaries would be aired on various TV channels.

Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Board of the Centre for Communication and Culture, said the individuals who were being celebrated are being celebrated for human values and culture lessons which were fast vanishing from the continent and entreated journalists to discharge their duties without fear for the country to realise its development agenda.
Professor Amin Alhassan, Director-General, GBC, assured that the organisation would do its best to ensure that the programme was a success.

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