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Pay Journalists better salaries – Ablakwa tells media owners

Ablakwa OkudjetoDeputy Minister of education in charge of tertiary education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has challenged owners of media houses to pay journalists better salaries to enable them to discharge their duties in line with professional ethics.

He cited poor remuneration of journalists as a threat to media freedom and independence in Ghana.

Mr Ablakwa also asked media owners to desist from cheap labour and recruit professionals whose services are required in nation building.

He raised this concern at the 10th Matriculation of the African University College of Communications (AUCC) in Accra.

He said, “A great threat to media freedom and to the independence of the media is a Journalist that is not well paid and not well resourced to work; if a Journalist will have to depend on ‘soli’ before a story is put out then the highest giver of soli will have his story told.”

He asked, “What happens to the story of the vulnerable? What happens to the story of the masses and the underprivileged who cannot pay ‘soli’ to enhance the work of the Journalist? So the threat to media freedom and to the independence of the media is how well we take care of our professionals, how well we pay our Journalists as media owners, how well we respect them, promote and protect their dignity as professionals.”

Mr Ablakwa reiterated government’s resolve not to interfere in the work of the media and called for concerted efforts to safeguard the independence of the media.

“Let us all support journalism, let us protect professional ethics and by that we will protect our democracy and we will safeguard or constitutionalism and that is why as a government last year we introduced the media development fund in which one million new Ghana cedis was placed into that fund as seed capital to build and enhance the capacity of Journalists.”

He explained, “It was not an attempt by government to interfere with the independence of journalism, to interfere with editorial content or policy; it was just our contribution to the desire to see a professional core of Journalists who are equipped and empowered to do their work without any inhibition.”

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