Mr Desmond Cudjoe, newly sworn-in Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) in the Western Region has reiterated that his tenure will supervise a regime that will make journalism an enviable profession.
He emphasized the critical role journalism plays in the development paradigm of any country for which reason the profession should hinge on professionalism and not sensationalism.
Mr Cudjoe made the remark when he together with other newly elected Regional Executives of the GJA were sworn in at the Sekondi Magistrate Court Complex by Her Lordship Rosemary Hayford.
He lamented the fallen standards of journalism in the country over the years and expressed fear that things could be worse if pragmatic efforts were not made to stem the trend.
“I must confess that the standard has not been the best. You look at the stories and more of them tend to be about character assassination, full of malicious content, disregard for the basic ethics of journalism, some reporters go to programs uninvited and after fight organizers for “soli”, some appear on radio or TV platforms and you can tell the person was ill-prepared and so on”, he stressed.
According to him, “these problems we see are because of the lack of the required training, poor remuneration, the thirst for cheap labour on the part of media owners resulting in the recruitment of unqualified personnel and in recent times politicians owning media houses.”
Against this backdrop, he anticipates a tenure in office where journalists will be guided by the ethics of the profession in all their engagements saying, “if not everywhere in the country, at least in the Western Region.”
“So, what my team and I intend doing in the early stages of our administration is to first get a database of all journalists in the Region, where they work, their qualification and the program that they do. We will encourage as many as possible to register with the Association. Then we will analyse the database to see the sour points.”
“We will then look at collaborating with both local and international training institutions to help upgrade skills. This training is going to be a regular one. There will also be a lot of symposia where we will invite companies to lecture members for them to know more about those companies. This way, when they are to report on them, they will do so from an informed position.”
For her part, the newly elected Regional Secretary, Madam Shirley Ewurama Smith indicated that another area that the new executives will pay attention to will be the welfare of journalists in the Region.
“The welfare of members is so important, especially for those on retirement. What you see is that because of the low remuneration, the majority of journalists are not able to save enough to enable them to have a good future. What we will be considering is an insurance system where members will contribute so as to help them when they are no more active”, she started.
The other Executives include Mr Kwame Mensa of EIB Network, Vice Chairman and Madam Marie Aziz Tunde of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Treasurer.
Mr Desmond Cudjoe is with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation while Madam Shirley Ewurama Smith is with Media General.
All four newly elected Regional Executives contested the elections unopposed.