Ghana Journalists Association’s (GJA) presidential contender, Mr David Agbenu, has said one of the four pillars of his vision is to invest in income-generating ventures to enable it to become reliant for its operations going forward.
He cited the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) as a perfect example on whose investment model he would build on to transform the GJA into a viable and competitive professional body.
Speaking to members of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), chapter of the GJA at Broadcasting House in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Agbenu said, “today we can see GNAT hostels, conference centres and other projects across the length and breadth of country that have become a source of income for the GNAT management to run the association.
“The GJA, at 71 years, we have nothing show to the world after all these decades of existence, saying, the new GJA under my leadership will ensure that every region had a press centre at least for a start where journalists can meet and also serve as events venue for the general public”, he said.
According to the GJA presidential aspirant and Editor of the Ghanaian Times, Mr Agbenu, disclosed that the association would organise annual fund-raising programmes and would also seek partnership with funding organisations both local and international, adding, with these innovations, the GJA will stand on its feet to hold annual award ceremonies without having to rely on corporate bodies for sponsorship.
Mr Agbenu said from his recent campaign tour of the regions, what struck him to the core was the information that journalists we paid a poultry sum of GH¢ 200.00 as monthly salary and most unacceptable that a reporter in the private media was paid GHS 30.00 for each story published.
“This will be a thing of the past when I take over leadership as I will ensure that we use our unionised bargain certificate to push for better and acceptable conditions of service for our members with their employers.
Unionisation which had been a prerequisite for us to become affiliate with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) had now become a realty saying when given the mandate the GJA members stand to benefit enormously.
He explained that GJA was given three years to do so, but after using one year to receive a certificate from the Trade Union Congress, the process stalled because GJA was unable to establish unions in various media houses.
As the longest serving former national executive member of the GJA executive from organising Secretary to General Secretary for 12 years, Mr Agbenu said he was competent enough to lead the GJA and therefore called the GJA GBC chapter to give him an overall endorsement with their votes.
He emphasised the need for continuous training for journalists adding that his administration will set up scholarship and capacity building programmes in Ghana and abroad to enable journalists to be abreast with new trends in the inky fraternity.
“This is going to be an equal training opportunity for members across the country”, he said.
The safety of journalists, Mr Agbenu said would be a non-negotiable issue stressing that a legal committee would be set up to take action against individuals and any group for assault on journalists in the line of duty.
The GJA presidential aspirant assured the GBC chapter of the GJA that his administration would resolve challenges through a broader consultation and dialogue to ensure harmony in the association.