Presidential aspirant of the Ghana Journalists Association(GJA) Gayheart Mensah, has outlined his goal and vision for the professional association, saying he is committed to building the capacity of journalists in the country to make it attractive and respected.
He said he is coming with a suite of benefits that will serve as an attraction into the professional body, these he pointed out as empowering journalists, making sure that the bearer of a GJA card is respected and accorded the necessary support he/she requires to do his/her work.
Mr Mensah said, as the would-be president of the journalists association in the country, capacity building is prime on his agenda by gearing the minds of journalists towards the advancement in technology and its floodgate of social media that has been opened to the profession with its immeasurable impact.
He asked what journalists are doing to be able to keep up with these changes and its emerging trends in the country?
Hence building the capacity of journalists will serve as an attraction, building a suite of welfare packages will serve as an attraction and also building a system that provides more security and protection for journalists in their line of duty will surely serve as an attraction to the profession.
Mr Mensah criticized the lack of protection and security for journalists in the country, saying “protection and security for journalist does not exist in issuing press statements” but rather exist in sitting and having a dialogue with the security apparatuses in the country to come up with ways to protecting and securing the safety of journalists in the country.
Rather than doing nothing to protect journalists and issuing press statements because a journalist has been assaulted, threatened, attacked and even killed for the salient job that they do in the furtherance of democracy in the country.
The GJA Presidential hopeful said this in an interview with Johnnie Hughes on the New Day show on TV3, Thursday, July 29.
Mr Mensah was speaking on the back of his bid to contest for the President of the Ghana Journalist Association and his vision and plans for the union when he secures the mandate.
“One of the things that I commit myself to do is to assist in building a suite of benefits that will serve as an attraction. Capacity building, empowerment, ensuring that the holder of the GJA membership card is respected and accorded all the necessary support he requires to do his work. What I intend doing is to build the capacity of my members”, he disclosed.
On the subject of the security of journalists and the recent revelation by the Attorney General to parliament that he is yet to receive the docket on Ahmed Suale’s murder two years ago, he said “I think that as a professional body we haven’t put the required pressure on the institutions that matters to speed up the process. We all do admit that unraveling such murder cases is not that easy but I don’t think there has been any show of urgency in the efforts at trying to apprehend those who engaged this kind of atrocity”.
He pointed out that in order to improve the salary regime of journalists in the country, he will engage in consultations with media owners to know and understand the challenges in the way of enhancing the salaries and livelihoods of journalists in Ghana.