Kumasi, July 23, GNA - Mr Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, a presidential aspirant of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), says he will ensure that duty bearers respect the media’s role to work in freedom and hold leadership accountable as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
He said: "The provisions in the 1992 Constitution on the rights of the media are there for a purpose and not for a joke" and indicated that journalists had the moral obligation to defend the citizenry.
Mr Dwumfour said this in an address to the staff of the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi as part of a tour to familiarize with GJA members.
He said the media’s role could not be undermined because of their constitutional mandate and that he would employ legitimate means, when given the nod, to ensure that journalists worked in an environment free from intimidation and government control.
Mr Dwumfour pledged to rebrand the GJA to make it attractive and whip up the interests of dormant members.
"Let's give the Association a new branding, let's get it a new look, let's all feel belonging and let's build the future of our Association together," he said.
He urged members to make meaningful contributions to bring the needed change, adding; "We must all be proactive and not reactive to issues regarding our Association to make it more vibrant and attractive, especially to the youth."
The Ashanti Regional Manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr Kwabia Owusu Mensah, who hosted Mr Dwumfour and his team, said the Association needed some dynamism in leadership to effectively manage and make it attractive for more people to join.
At the Kumasi Office of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Mr Dwumfour and his entourage met the News Editor, Mr John Yeboah, who shared his experience as a former Secretary to the Association in the Region.
He conceded that the GJA needed an overhaul to make it attractive and sustainable and to take its rightful place in contributing to national development.
Mr Yeboah said the completion of the Ashanti Regional office of the GJA was critical to providing a decent convergence point for media practitioners.
Mr Martin Omari Sarfo, the Zonal Business Manager of the Graphic Communication Group for Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Northern regions, noted that Mr Dwumfour had promised to tackle most of the concerns that bothered him regarding the development of the Association.
He noted that some members were apathetic towards the development of the Association and called for urgent rebranding to make it attractive.
He was, particularly, concerned about the lack of remuneration for some journalists in the private media and said their work contributed to productivity to the various media houses that engaged them.
Mr Yeboah, however, said those journalists had no assurance of a monthly stipend.
He, therefore, commended Mr Dwumfour for appreciating the unpredictable situations and discomfort that most journalists faced adding that Mr Dwumfour's vision of instituting a welfare policy to ensure journalists got their due in the discharge of their duties was welcoming.
At Techiman, Mr Dwumfour, responding to questions from members of the Association in the Bono East Region of having to move to Sunyani to vote in the GJA election, assured them that arrangements would be made to enable them to vote in their region.
In Sunyani, Mr Dwumfour met two separate groups made up of retirees and mainstream members, sold his vision and policy plans to them and encouraged them to avoid apathy towards the Association.