By Iddi Yire, GNA
Koforidua, Nov. 07, GNA – The Ghana News Agency (GNA) is well positioned to sustain and enhance its role in the news and information industry not only in Ghana but also on the entire African continent.
Alhaji Mohammed Nurudeen Issahaq, the Acting General Manager of GNA said despite the fact that the Agency is currently going through turbulent times, it is not in an entirely hopeless situation.
“We have a strong brand, a wide network of reporters and stringers in all 10 regions of Ghana, and an editorial team that is capable of producing all the content we need to drive our own diversified products, as well as satisfy the content needs of our subscribers,” Alhaji Issahaq remarked at the end of a three-day workshop for editors, reporters, stringers and technical staff of the nation’s only wire service at Koforidua.
The workshop is also part of the “GNA Tracks Election 2016 Project”, being funded by GOIL, the state oil company and CIMG 2015 Petroleum Company of the year.
The Acting General Manager said the commercialisation path remained a feasible option that could enable the Agency to wean itself off government’s subvention, but added that the path to commercialisation, nonetheless, required that a conducive environment be created to ensure the success of such a bold move.
“The Management of GNA has submitted proposals to the government asking for a recapitalization fund to kick-start the process of de-listing the Agency from subvention,” he said, adding that a well-though-through financial analysis indicates that within a projected period of five years, GNA would have adequate finances to stand on its own.
“By that analysis, if for example the Agency is given a seed capital of five million Ghana Cedis, it would hit a revenue figure of about GH₵10 million in five years.”
The Acting General Manager appealed to the government to give serious consideration to the proposal which in the view of the GNA Management is the only path to giving the Agency a new lease of life.
“Besides, it would also reduce the burden on the Consolidated Fund and allow the Government to channel funds that would have been used to finance the GNA’s operations into other endeavors of national development.”
On the December 7 elections, Alhaji Issahaq said journalists and stringers have it as an obligation to disseminate truthful, accurate and unbiased news to the Agency's subscribers and the general public.
“GNA’s stories should be fair to all political parties and candidates so as to create a level playing field that would enhance the credibility of the poll and make its outcome acceptable to all stakeholders.”
He said in going about their coverage of the elections, journalists must emphasise more on the media’s role in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and reconciliation rather than use the power of the media to incite violence.
“We owe it as a moral duty to preserve and keep this nation of ours together in one piece, both during and after the elections. That is what the GNA's 'One Ghana' Campaign is all about", he said.
He cautioned against hate speech and urged journalists to exercise a great deal of circumspection in the way they handled speeches from politicians and also in the exercise of our editorial judgement, bearing in mind their responsibility to the society.
He expressed the appreciation of the Management and staff of GNA to Goil for its kind generosity, which had made the capacity-building workshops for the Agency’s journalists and stringers across the country possible.
The' GNA Tracks Election 2016' Project seeks to sensitize the electorate on the various issues raised by political parties, the elections management body and other governance institutions.
It aims at ensuring gender and social inclusion in national politics and to provide voice for the youth, vulnerable groups, opinion leaders and the broader spectrum of the society, as well as contribute to the achievement of the overall objective of having a peaceful poll on December 7.
Reporters and Stringers who attended the Koforidua workshop were drawn from the Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern, Central and Western Regions.
A similar workshop was also organised at Abesim near Sunyani for participants from the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Northern, Upper East and West Regions.