2016 New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate for Ofoase Ayirebi, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has admonished journalists in the country to define and “focus on the right subjects” as the nation heads for a major election in November this year.
He said media practitioners must pay attention to the right facts and use them to analyse opinions.
Media practitioners, he went on to add, must understand that they hold a key role in shaping issues that will take central role in the 2016 General Elections.
He said for Ghanaians to make the right choice in the upcoming elections, they need opinions which are shaped by informed facts from media practitioners in the country.
To this end, he added that it behooves the bearer of the facts, thus media practitioners, to be first interested in the right facts and substantive issues bothering the nation.
“If Ghanaians will focus on issues of healthcare, education and the economy or if Ghanaians will focus on who is the best spoken candidate or who has the best campaign slogan or has the prettiest wife, it will be because we the media people have chosen to allow it,” he said.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah was speaking at the launch of The Press Foundation (TPF) in Kumasi.
The foundation is a non-governmental, non-political and nonprofit making grouping of journalists across the country to seek to enhance the standard of journalists and journalism in the country.
The foundation, according to its leaders, shall be helping its members with training workshops, seminars, symposia, raise insurance packages for them and help them access scholarships within and outside Ghana.
It would also help members with legal aid, medical aid and award outstanding practitioners in the country.
Executive Director of the Foundation, Listowell Yesu Bukarson, indicated that members of the inky fraternity in the country needed more encouragement to put out their best in their lines of duty, especially when the nation was preparing to enter a political era.
In his opinion, journalists had no access to legal support when they come face-to-face with suits of slander and defamation while there are several lawyers in this country who were once journalists.
“…so the Foundation has spoken to them to partner it in terms of providing legal aid to journalists across the country when needed,” he said.
Many journalists, he said, have had to take care of their own medical bills when they get injured in the line of duty which has left many dead and discouraged several others from putting out their best for the nation for fear of getting themselves in similar situation.
“In such a situation journalists would not be afraid to put in their all when working because they know that help will be available in case anything bad occurs,” he stressed.
Mr. Bukarson regretted that many journalists have unfortunately become victims of circumstances in their line of duty without any help from even their respective media houses, saying ‘that should not be the case because journalism is not a crime’ for practitioners to suffer for going into it.
“Our vision is to help journalists in this country practice with a free mind and provide them with certain conditions which are basic in Western countries but could not be provided for them in this country, God being our help,” Mr. Bukarson said passionately.
For his part, Manwerehene of the Asantehene Baffuor Osei Hyiaman Brentuo who chaired the launch said the work of the mass media was very needful in the country since they have become the grinding wheels for most professions in this country in addition to their core responsibilities.
Mr. Baffuor Brentuo noted that with the press in Ghana playing such important roles it was not far-fetched to seek for a foundation like this that would also seek the interest of this crop of professionals who have dedicated their lives for this nation.
The success of the upcoming elections and peace in the country afterwards, he pointed out, depended largely on journalists in this country.