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Graphic Archive Digitalisation Project national asset - Ato Afful

BY: Mary Anane-Amponsah
Dr Abena A. Yeboah-Banin (right), Head of Department of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, Legon holding discussions with Ato Afful (left), Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL). With them are Franklin Sowa, Director, Sales and Marketing, Kobby Asmah, Editor, Graphic, some management staff of the GCGL and members of the delegation. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY
Dr Abena A. Yeboah-Banin (right), Head of Department of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, Legon holding discussions with Ato Afful (left), Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL). With them are Franklin Sowa, Director, Sales and Marketing, Kobby Asmah, Editor, Graphic, some management staff of the GCGL and members of the delegation. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY

The Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Ato Afful, has said the ongoing digitalisation of the company’s archives to provide an effective platform for research work in the country and beyond is a “national asset” that needs to be supported by all, particularly, academia.

The project which has been progressing steadily since it started in March this year, Mr Afful said, would have information and activities that dated back to the 1950’s and were captured in the various brands of the company for easy accessibility by people in need of the information.

Mr Afful was addressing a team from the Department of Communication Studies of the University of Ghana who paid a courtesy call on the management of the company yesterday[June 16, 2022],

He said the digitalised archived material would not only provide useful information about Ghana but that of Africa and the world at large.

“This is not a Graphic Project. It is a national asset. Even the National Archives doesn’t have what we are sitting on here. They don’t’. No, trust me.

It is not there. It is here”, he said, while stressing the need for academics and researchers to support the initiative by spreading the message concerning the laudable project.

A need for researchers

Mr Afful said researchers globally visited the company for information as reference but there was a dip in the visits during the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore the initiative was to offer hope to these researchers.

The project, he said, should be of more importance to academics and researchers globally because it would reduce their hassle in seeking information as wherever “you find yourself, you would be able to access the necessary references for your work.”

“Graphic predates Ghana as a country and republic, it predates Nigeria as a country and republic and so the archives of the newspaper and editorial of this region sits with us”.

“We are at the verge of doing something significant for the nation because the digitised archives will capture activities that preceded our independence and all the way to when Ghana was birthed and that of Nigeria’s independence”, he said.

The MD urged the Department of Communications Studies to pay attention to the initiative and access it to their benefit as they could find interesting information that would aid their work.

Graphic, he added, had rejuvenated its Ghana Year Book initiative and called on the public to own copies of the book which chronicles some important activities for the year.

The visit

The team had visited the company to announce the celebration of the department’s 50 years’ anniversary this year.

Mr Afful also took them through some activities of the company and how far the company had come in terms of diversifying which included owning GPAK, a commercial printing house, real estate, courier services company and Graphic Clinic.

The Head of Department, Dr Abena Animwaa Yeboah-Banin, who led the team, said as part of efforts to celebrate the anniversary, the department was engaging key stakeholders including GCGL.

“Graphic is an important part of our story and that is why we think it is important to pay a courtesy call to seek support for the success of the anniversary”.

Giving an outlook of the anniversary, she said the anniversary was to be launched on July 20, with a series of activities such as a leadership forum on the communication industry in the country, in September, it would launch a flagship programme dubbed “state of the Ghanaian media report”, and crown the celebration with an alumni homecoming next year. She called on Graphic to partner them in the celebration.

Special packages

The Editor, Graphic, Kobby Asmah, said there was a need for deep collaboration between academia and industry players to perform better in the media space.

Mr Asmah said the company had opened its doors to students of communications in the department to have a feel of what the company did.

He called on the department to deliberately fashion out a programme for students to adopt the reading habit, especially the reading of the Daily Graphic on daily basis to broaden their horizon.

The Director, Marketing, of the GCGL, Franklin Sowa said the company as part of support to inculcate the reading habit in students was willing to give a special package of its digital newspaper “Graphic Newsplus” to students of the department to have full access of all its publications.

Mr Sowa called on the team to take advantage of a good package from Graphic to catalog their anniversary celebration in a 16-page pull-out on what the department had been before, now and the future prospects to be kept in the libraries for good.