Mrs. Alice Tettey, the Central Regional Chairperson of the Ghana Journalists Association has called on media entities to consider safer newsrooms that protected the practitioner from external attacks.
Most newsrooms in Ghana are easily accessible by the public because of the lack of security features on doors and even operational set ups.
“The open-door system or knock and enter approach,” she said, must be avoided to prevent access to supposedly aggrieved people who may be unhappy with a journalist’s work or reportage.
Mrs. Tettey, was speaking at a workshop for female journalists and photographers on ‘Gender equity and safety’, organised by the GJA with sponsorship from the Federation of International Journalists (IFJ) and the Norwegian Union of Journalists in Takoradi, the Western Regional Capital.
The Chairperson who facilitated a session on ‘Journalists Rights and Gender Safety’ also entreated practitioners to exercise their utmost caution in the field, liaise with appropriate agencies with the power to protect them in the case of any eventuality.
She said the rights to Information, accessing information from government officials, confidentiality of sources among others, must also be observed with absolute decorum.
Mrs. Tettey prayed for sanity on the air waves and entreated Akan news readers to stop turning news items into “‘cantata”.
She noted that the seemingly unruly journalistic practices gaining roots in the media landscape must not be continued.
“We need to set the agenda as the fourth estate of the realm and not to choke society with our powers…let us protect the sovereignty of our state, while holding duty bearers accountable…the master’s bid Journalism will not promote national development at the end of the day”.
Mrs. Linda Asante Agyei, the Vice President of the GJA, said Journalism was not for cowards and encouraged many women practitioners to challenge themselves for excellence.
She said the entrenching of gender equity and discrimination in the news room must be a narration of the past adding, “As women, we need to build our capacity, take up challenging roles…our God given Physique or nature must not be a barrier to excellence in any field”.
She also called on female journalists who have grievances in the office environment to use the appropriate channel for redress.
Mr. Moses Akrobotu, the Western Regional Chairman of the GJA, touted the need for appropriate costuming and decent physical appearance to avoid any untoward advances from male superiors.
He said sexual harassment was a crime punishable by law and that women must not be silent should they suffer such abuses.
Mrs. Justina Paaga, the Western Regional Manager of the Ghana News Agency, during an open forum entreated young female journalists to learn and also research on assignment schedules before stepping out to cover or interview to avoid the situation where the “interviewee becomes the interviewer”.
Some of the topics discussed were “Journalist Rights and Gender Safety, Combating Sexual harassment at the work place and safety on the field”, among others.