4 February 2013

Ghana: Veteran Journalists Want Ashanti GJA Overhauled

Kumasi — Some senior journalists in Kumasi have called for a complete overhaul in the leadership of the Ashanti Regional chapter of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), in order to ensure its efficiency.

Editors of The Daily Guide and The Chronicle, alongside other senior journalists in Kumasi, have stressed the need for a massive shake up in the leadership structure of the association, in order to enhance its efficiency, and enable the association assert its position as a dominant civil society organisation in the country.

Messrs James Quansah and Sebastian R. Freiku, both of the Daily Guide and The Chronicle respectively, in separate interviews, expressed concerns about the poor state of the association in the region, and the fact that for some years now, the association had failed to champion the interest of members in the region.

The experienced media personnel noted with regret that the once-vibrant GJA had virtually become a pale shadow of itself, in terms of asserting its role as an influential civil society organisation seeking the interest of its members and the society at large.

The veteran journalists were unanimous in their call for a vibrant leadership that was ready to fight for the supreme interest of its members and the public at large.

The dwindling number of members of the association over the years had largely been attributed to the fact that leaderships, in the past, had failed to coordinate and organise activities of the association well.

The Ashanti Regional Editor of the Western Publications, publishers of the Daily Guide, Mr. James Quansah, believes the association needs massive restructuring, stressing, "it must be made to carry out its role, based on the constitution that established the association."

"At the moment, the association exists merely on paper, but when it comes to fighting for the welfare of its members, we don't see it at all," Mr. Quansah argued.

According to him, it was up to the delegates who will be casting their votes in the upcoming congress to decide whether there should be a change in the way the association was being run or not.

On his part, the Regional Editor of The Chronicle Newspaper, Mr. Sebastian Freiku, noted that the association had not been effective at the regional level for quite a long time, and that GJA was centred in Accra.

He said the leadership lacked commitment and direction to champion the interest of its members, and said the trend must change with the injection of new blood into the leadership in the region.

Mr. Freiku said there was much apathy on the part of journalists in the region regarding membership drive, something he said, had allowed the infiltration of half-baked journalists who go about denting the image of the profession without restraint.

As result, he expects the leadership to improve upon the professional skills of practitioners by embarking on training programmes to enhance performance.

Other media practitioners, who preferred to remain anonymous, expressed the hope that the new executives to be be elected on March 8, will revitalise the association and make it more attractive to practitioners who are yet to join.

The GJA goes to congress in March 8 this year to elect regional executives to steer the affairs of the association for the next two years.

It is still not clear how many candidates have picked forms to contest, as the executives remain tight-lipped on preparations made so far towards the polls.

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