GJA President Affail Monney

Journalists have begun raising red flags about the Ghana Journalists Association’s (GJA’s) petition to President Akufo-Addo.

Some media personalities insist the move will further threaten the independence of the media.

The GJA President Roland Affail Monney led a delegation to thank President Akufo-Addo for donating a vehicle to be given to the Journalist of the Year.

Speaking at the event, Mr Monney outlined the following needs of members of his association which need attention.

“We are also appealing to the highest office to donate VW cars to each of the branches of the Ghana Journalists Association. Specifically, we proposed that the government waives spectrum and regulation fees for broadcasting institutions for one year. Government should also waive corporate tax on wages of media practitioners for three months,” he told President Akufo-Addo.

On his part, President Akufo-Addo expressed his commitment to working in conjunction with the media to build a “strong durable democracy in Ghana.”

But the GJA’s supplication has received mixed reactions from journalists some of whom say this appeal is not only embarrassing but will further threaten the independence of the media.

Investigative journalist Manasseh Azure believes that “he who pays the piper calls the tune and we know how manipulative politicians in Ghana are.”

“Besides the journalists’ awards in Ghana has never lacked a sponsorship,” he added.

JoyNews’ Editor, Kwaku Owusu Perprah says “If it does not compromise – and I say ‘if’ advisedly – journalists in this country then it will not hurt the willingness to put the feet of government to the heat of accountability.

“But that is a tricky area of ethics and discretion. We shouldn’t take support, not from the private sector nor from the government. But we are not capable of surviving on our own without them. So let’s take it but let’s leave every journalist to the power of his own discretion and the respect for his own ethics.”

Editor of the Finder newspaper, Elvis Darko also disagrees with the move of the GJA saying it amounts to backtracking from the principles on which the organising of the awards scheme was transferred from the Information Ministry to the Association some years ago.

He said “why are we going back to the government this time again. That one, I will not be in favour of that,” he added.

Editor in Chief of the Daily Dispatch newspaper, Ben Ephson, however, sees no harm in the move as long as journalists stick to the values underpinning the practice.