The Private Newspaper Publishers Association (PRINPAG) is advocating a pension scheme for media practitioners to ensure a comfortable retirement for journalists.
Mr. Andrew Edwin Arthur, President of PRINPAG who made the call, bemoaned the miserable living conditions of most retired journalists and called for urgent steps to address the problem.
“The state in which we see some older colleagues when they go on retirement is pathetic, with some becoming complete paupers and burden to their families and friends,” he said at the opening ceremony of the Media Capacity Enhancement Programme (MCEP) at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.
The programme, which seeks to enhance the existing knowledge base, skills set and qualitative output of media personnel is an initiative of the Ministry of Information.
Other partners collaborating with the Ministry are the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), National Media Commission (NMC) and PRINPAG.
Representatives of the various partners took turns addressing the first cohort of about 250 selected journalists drawn from various media organisations across the country at a colourful opening ceremony.
In attendance was the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II who was the guest speaker and the Ambassador of the United States of America to Ghana, Ms. Stephanie S. Sullivan.
Mr. Arthur called on stakeholders under the MCEP to consider empowering the Working Committee to find ways of instituting a pension retirement scheme for all media practitioners into which scheme practitioners would make contributions to safeguard their future.
He also expressed concern about poor conditions of service for media practitioners which, he said, was counterproductive to the growth of the media and demotivating as far as attracting critical minds into the profession.
He said while paying attention to enhancing intellectual capabilities of journalists, it was equally important to pay attention to the business aspect of the media.
“The government through the Ministry of Information should consider coming up with a media policy to ensure equitable distribution of state sponsored adverts among all media organisations irrespective of the usual perceived political inclinations,” he recommended.
Mr. Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo, Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), charged the beneficiaries to let the training reflect in their work by upholding ethical journalism.
He said the acquisition of knowledge was critical to their growth as individuals and the media landscape and urged them to justify the resources invested in their training for the collective good of society.