An aspiring Organising Secretary of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mary Mensah, has promised to revive the GJA chapters in all media organisations.
That, she explained, would re-energise and make the association more transparent, and easily accessible to win back the confidence of its members.
Ms Mensah who is the Foreign and Supplement Editor of the Daily Graphic, and the incumbent Public Affairs Officer of the GJA said re-energizing the chapters will also enable the public to build back trust in the association.
The duties of the organising secretary of the association include ensuring that existing branches and chapters are active and supervising the setting up of new ones among others.
Chapters in media houses
Apart from the Daily Graphic chapter, which has been strong over the years, all the other chapters have virtually folded up, making it difficult for members who needed assistance or are facing challenges to have their issues promptly addressed.
Chapters play a very crucial role in the association as they act as a liaison between members and the GJA Secretariat, bringing them to the doorstep of the association for effective communication and resolving of issues.
“Our over 70-year-old association has gone through serious challenges over the years but is still standing, giving a clear indication that if all members come on board, the GJA will once again be the citadel of professional excellence in Ghana, Africa and beyond,” Ms Mensah said.
Capacity building is dear to the heart of Ms Mensah, and with deep-rooted contacts, when given the nod, she will source for funding from the various embassies, missions, institutions and civil society organisations for periodic training and retraining of members, especially female journalists to enable them to sharpen their knowledge and communication skills.
Ms Mensah is a born leader, goal-oriented person, unifier, displays honesty and discretion, meticulous with work, has a good eye for detail, as well as organisational, professional and communication skills.
Critical role of journalists
Ms Mensah indicated that journalism as a profession played a critical role in national development “as we do not only inform, educate and entertain but we are also the conscience of society”.
According to the aspiring organising secretary, by effectively playing our roles, we would help shape the minds of society.
“This places on each journalist a huge responsibility to play his or her role in strict adherence to professional ethics and values, including upholding the principles of objectivity, fairness and balance in our news judgement and reportage,” she stated.
Centre of excellence
Ms Mensah said no executive member of the association could work in isolation as the GJA was teamwork, hence she would support the other executive members to transform the press centre and make it a centre of excellence and a one-stop shop for all media activities by capitalising on her communication skills to help market the association on all fronts.
In her view, though media practitioners in Ghana had played their normative roles quite well, there was still room for improvement, especially in the area of training and retraining of members.
New positive image
“Recent events have cast a shadow over the association and we need to create a new positive image, and by so doing encourage the rank and file of the association to be professional and circumspect in their day-to-day activities,” Ms Mensah said.
She added that if she was given the mandate, she would make the GJA more attractive in order to get more committed members on board.
She said there was the need to enforce our Code of Ethics and to revive the Committee on Ethics to sanction errant journalists, name and shame them, and deny them invitation to official programmes or functions.
Ms Mensah said she would continue with the effort of the unionisation of the association to strengthen the bargaining position for higher renumeration.
“It is my candid view that the effective implementation of these key points will go a long way to move the association from where it currently finds itself to a position of greater influence and impact on society,” she pointed out.
She is the Convener of the Association of Women in the Media (ASWIM) and passionate about empowering female journalists by training and capacity building. She is strong-willed, articulate and a unifier.
Vote wisely and vote Ms Mary Mensah as the Organising Secretary of the GJA for effective planning and organisation.