The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, has urged the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) to maintain its leadership role in the media industry to help deepen the democratic credentials of the country.
"Graphic has been a market leader in the media industry over a prolonged period because of the strong brand you have developed over the years — a media brand that upholds freedom of expression, truth, professionalism and objectivity on all its platforms," he said.
Mr Bagbin made the remarks when he launched the Ghana Year Book 2021, which is published annually by the GCGL, at the Alisa Hotel in Accra Thursday [March 18, 2021].
The Ghana Year Book 2021, provides an overview of the important happenings in the various sectors of the country in the previous year.
The publication started in the 1950s as a value addition product of the GCGL and its popularity grew through to the 1960s before it stopped in the 1970s.
Mr Bagbin said the GCGL’s position as a leader in the media space was because of its never-ending innovations and the determination to stay relevant through the various stages of media evolution, both past and present.
"Besides, you have remained steadfast, given the context of all the emerging trends in the media landscape that had tended to obfuscate the direction, relevance and future of the media," he said.
He noted that it took determination, sacrifice and courage on the part of the media to embed a national culture that was supportive of free expression.
“When it comes to that the GCGL should hold its head high, because looking back on your journey in the Ghanaian media space from as far back as 1950, there is no denying the fact that you have been pacesetters in this regard. Your content bears testimony to that,” he posited.
Read also: Bagbin launches Ghana Year Book
Mr Bagbin also encouraged journalists of the GCGL to continue to uphold and safeguard the ethics of the journalism profession to reflect the company’s long-standing reputation.
“Endeavour to ensure that you maintain the integrity you have built for yourselves over the years as media and ethics are bedfellows, and I hope that it is a constant reminder to all of you as you do your work.”
“Being in positions of power or influence means that some other people have sacrificed their comfort and influence for us to be able to lead them. That should never be the reason for them to forget where the actual power resides,” he said.
The Speaker said the publication of the Ghana Year Book was also a typical example of how the GCGL had continued to reinvent itself.
“The Ghana Year Book, I am told, was popular particularly in the 1950s to the 1970s, but went out of publication. It has however been reintroduced, given the current media context, to fill a void and serve this present generation.
“This is a manifestation of the demand-driven interventions that continue to make this organisation an example of the endless possibilities that exist not only for media organisations, but, more importantly, for state-owned institutions as well,” he said.
The Managing Director of the GCGL, Mr Ato Afful, said the purpose of publishing the Ghana Year Book 2021 was to factually and accurately illustrate what was happening in the country in the previous year.
He said with the dominance of social media in the news space, there was a challenge in accessing credible and accurate news reports in the country, and that had created a void that needed to be filled.
“One of the key developments that we have realised is that with the evolving of social media and how it is used at the user generating level, fact-checking has become a difficulty because everybody is publishing and everybody is editing at their own levels wherever they may find themselves with a device and, therefore, accurate information is becoming quite challenging,” he said.
Mr Afful said the book was therefore rebirthed to help fill the accuracy void, especially in keeping the records of important state events and activities.
“The accuracy also now becomes an issue of our own history; therefore, we took it on ourselves to unearth that treasure that has been sitting in our archives to reignite this fantastic publication and we believe we have done a good work and we believe that with the support of our partners we can take this forward into the years ahead,” he said.
The Board Chairman of GCGL, Professor Kwame Karikari, in an interview with the Daily Graphic after the launch of the Ghana Year Book said with society becoming more complex with so much information flowing around, some of which were fake news and false information, it was important that the GCGL intervened by keeping an annual record of the salient events of society.
“Graphic as an institution provides information to the public and that is public service. The work of Graphic in providing news and so on is a public service and being a national institution, the company must constantly strive to improve and add value to the information it provides to the society,” Prof. Karikari said.