Wednesday, May 5, 2010

West African Journalists Takes Stroll at Graphic Company

News Banjul The Gambia(IMB)- It was a day that many West African journalists will not forget in their life time, was the day they set their eyes and step in the entrance of Graphic Communication Group Limited (GCGL) and to have first hand information about the company in Accra, Ghana dated 20th April 2010.

The group was lead to Graphic Company, by Mr. Bright Kwame Blewe Secretary General Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) and Mr. Walter Kudzodzi of International Institute of Journalism (IIJ). The following countries are present namely; Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Ghana and The Gambia, Guinea Conakry was absent at the time of writing the piece. The two weeks training that gets started on the 19 April will winds up 30 April 2010, with certificates of attendance to be presented all participants.

The subjected on the two weeks training “The Media’s Role in Conflict Transformation and Peace Building West Africa and is currently taking place at the Ghana International Press Centre. The training itself was organized by The International Institute for Journalism (IIJ) of InWent Capacity Building International

After a warmly welcomed, shaking hands, West African journalists were shown a short documentary about the company.

Addressing journalists, Mr. Albert Sam, Public Affairs Manager Graphic GCGL said “dealing with objectively and professionally with conflicts is all about language” while putting to journalists to use simple language to communicate easily with the audience.”

According to Sam, media practitioners need to demonstrate some caution in the use of language when reporting on conflict situations.

Recounting his experiences, Sam the Public Affairs Manager said “ as a journalists myself , I have rich experiences from reporting on peacekeeping operations: United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFLI), The United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in the Middle East, and the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Liberia.”

In all these, he continued “what I learnt and experienced, which imprinted on my mind, is indeed to indeed exercise caution and desist from inflaming passion”.

He stated that the company mission “is to empower their readers and consumers with reliable and credible information, communication and entertainment that create the best possible customer experience.”

He went on such a good reputation is not by a lucky accident for the company but it is the result of the deliberate steps by the company to achieve leadership in disseminating high quality information and knowledge that improves people’s lives.

Sam mentioned that the company operates with high calibers of journalists that are well trained to catch up with the job and a lot of incentives have been given to staff.

“We encourage our journalists to do courses at different institutions both in Ghana and abroad “

During the question and answer session, a participant from Sierra Leone Ms. Femi Coker, Senior Reporter with the Examiner Newspaper, asked what can be some of the qualifications that can give one the opportunity to be reporting with the Graphic, in respond Sam stated that “anyone with diploma from any recognized institute but specified Ghana Institute of Journalism can be qualify to be A reporter for the Graphic.

While questions were pouring like a heavy rain, The Gambia News and Reporter Magazine, Mamadou Edrisa Njie, Senior Staff Writer asked in any success there must be challenges, so what are some of your challenges, in reply, Sam said that in any media house in the world the main constraints is finance adding that the global recessions has also affected many media houses in his country. Raising funds, technology changing times, training and the newspaper review done by the radio stations in the country. “The newspaper review every morning makes many people not to but newspapers because the already know what is content in the papers.” He further disclosed that Graphic as at now is suffering from advertisement but was quick to relate it globally.

Gambian Journalist, Mr. Modou S. Joof News Editor and Head of Sports Desk of the Voice Newspaper, posed question asking , what are the media regulations or do you have any media regulations, in his positive respond, Sam stated that during the military period there was newspaper liencesing regulations but now we don’t have it. The only thing to do now is to do formality with

Mrs. Amie Sanneh also Gambian participant from the Foroyaa Newspaper asked, do you have harsh media laws in your constitution?, In positive respond answer, Sam told ECOWAS journalists that there is no harsh laws that govern media operations in the country noting that “ their newspapers laws has been repealed since after the military rule, we are different from you (The Gambia), where the media is struggling daily for the repeal of some of the draconian laws in The Gambian how Sir are the staff of your company well paid and motivated? Question posed by Ms. Celine Oyewole correspondent with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), responding to the question, Public Affairs Manager Sam noted that their staff are well paid and motivated by the group citing the Graphic Needy Trust Fund stating that the fund helps genuinely needy Ghanians who require medical treatment whose cost is beyond their reach adding that this fund has been alive since 1989 and the company and its collaborators have assisted more that hundred (100) partients with various ailments to receive medical care.

On Free Medical Care, he explained that every year, the company organiseds free health care for the Adabraka community, where the company is located. This programme, he buttressed was introduced in 2005 and is meant for the people of Adabrka in which the programme gives residents to have consultation and drugs come free to partients. The company has extended the free medical exercise to Asafo, a suburd of Kumasi the company’s largest centre of operations outside the head office.

Scholarship Scheme, this he pointed out, the company runs a schpolarship scheme for the children of employeres who are in second cycle institutions. Still answering a question posed by Nigerian Reporter, cited Daily Graphic Governance Dialogue and the Ephraim Amu Award of Excellence for Arts and Culture all gears towards the development of the company.

Mr. Silas Gbandi Deputy Director Sirrea Leone News Company incorporating , The Punch Newspaper and Citizen Radio asked Mr. Sam how independent is the editorial of the Graphic?, in reply Sam said that their editorial is independent despite the government of Ghana acquire the company by an act of parliament.

Mr. Nruddenn M. Abdallah Head, Cover and Investigation Sunday Trust Nigeria, asked Mr. Sam how many copies and the number of pages, in reply, Sam revealed that the company published about two hundred to two hundred and fifty copies daily with thirty two pages adding that the Daily Graphic is the biggest and the leading newspaper in Ghana with about one hundred and ten journalists.

All the ECOWAS journalists were present and asked different questions, after the team was taken on a conducted tour.

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