As today marks the world press freedom day, a multimedia broadcast Journalist, the Brong Ahafo Regional Correspondent, *_Christian Ofori Kumah popular known as Koofori Bossu Denkye_*, has taken the opportunity to talk about the state of journalism In the Brong Ahafo Region that he represents.
The poor remuneration of Ghanaian Journalists and presenters leads them into taking,’Payola’, ‘soli’,bribes etc.
‘Soli’ (short form for solidarity) is the practice in which journalists, who cover programs and events are given money, apparently to “cover the cost of travel to the event”.
However, nothing justifies taking of soli but most journalists in the Brong Ahafo Region have no choice because of their meagre salaries.
In my investigations I (Koofori Bossu Denkye) have realised that most chief executive officers(CEO’S) who owns Media houses in the region don’t encourage their General managers to pay their workers well, most of them doesn’t pay at all so politicians have also started using the unpaid journalist/ presenters for their political ambitions ,just last year a presenter called muagbe who work with an Accra based Fm station muntie fm started promoting the ruling government and defaming the leading opposition party NPP which is against the ethics of journalist but he has no choice than to follow his stomach,during this years independence day journalists were packed into a truck to transport them from the black stars square to an office for just a token called ‘soli’,also the same year, NPP also accused Adakabra Frimpong Manso and Kwame Nkrumah tiekese of Neat fm and Okay fm respectively both defaming their flagbearer Nana Akuffo Addo .
“I don’t want to be holier than thou, I understand why my colleague journalists take soli, it’s not justified even though I understand and the reason is that they are poorly paid,”
The same incidence happened in the Brong Ahafo Region among my colleagues journalist and presenters.
“But it’s not justified because one of the principles of journalism is to be balance,accurate fair and independent from political persuasion…so in order to do Our work well and live in that cardinal
principle we cannot be taking money in such direct ways.”
The working conditions of journalists in the Brong Ahafo Region must be improved so that they don’t become vulnerable to people who will pay them to write and cover stories.
The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA),Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) and other stakeholders in the Journalism field to implement laws and measures to push CEOs and general managers of media houses in the Brong Ahafo Region and Ghana as a whole to pay their workers and pay them well because our work is very dangerous, but have critical unattractive working conditions and salaries .
My research gave examples and statistics of salaries received by some top journalists in most of our reputable media institution in the Brong Ahafo Region. In most public media houses, a journalist with a diploma certificate receives between GH¢100 and GH¢250.
A reporter at GNA receives as gross salary, an amount between GH¢230 and GH¢250, whiles a journalist with the same qualification at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) receives between GH¢300 and GH¢330. At the Ghanaian Times, a journalist with diploma receives GH¢350-420, whiles his counterpart at the Graphic
Communication’s Group Limited (GCGL), is paid between GH¢400 and GH¢700. A
Chief Editor at the GNA receives less than a senior reporter at GCGL. The Chief Editor who would have had about 25 years working experience and having his or her belt the competence, ideas and experience take home far less than a journalist with just 6 years of work at the GCGL.
Sometimes, some reporters get “fired” because of little embezzlement of “soli” or misconduct, who is to bell the cat ?, under this competitive market ,our sweat and tiredness needs much attention, please managers and radio owners must adhere to our weeping before we jump from the noble profession.
Is it a sin at all I sometimes ask myself ,to practice journalism ? Journalism the noble profession which has its code of ethics caution practioners to desist from such acts,but later allows themselves just because of their survival.
Long live B/A Journalist
Long Live B/A Media.
Credit: Christian Ofori Kumah