‘Wean journalists off politicians’

BY: Samuel K. Obour

A former broadcaster, Mr Chris Alalbila, has appealed to the owners and management of media houses in the country to endeavour to resource journalists and other media practitioners to wean them off political influence.

He said the present situation where journalists depended on politicians and other institutions to travel to access information was making it difficult for the practitioners to be independent and professional in the performance of their duties.

Speaking at a day’s workshop for media practitioners in Wa in the Upper West Region on Wednesday, Mr Alalbila said given the current situation, it would be difficult for journalists to be very objective in their reportage.

He, however, encouraged media practitioners to strive, in the face of all the obstacles,  to use their platform to influence political decisions and policies in the interest of the majority of the people.

The workshop, organised by PRONET North, a non-governmental organisation ( NGO), with support from Star Ghana, was on the need for the media to partner civil society organisations to promote education in northern Ghana.

Touching on the state of education in the three regions of the north, the former Upper West Regional correspondent of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) urged journalists to go beyond reporting the speeches of politicians and other personalities and unearth the causes of the high school dropout rate in some communities, as well as the fallen standards in education.

"As journalists or media practitioners, we need to work to change the destiny of children who are out of school and this we could do by influencing decisions and socialising more with the people to identify their needs," he emphasised.

A representative of the Development Research and Advocacy Centre (DRAC), Mr Jonathan Adabre, who was also a resource person, stressed the need for effective collaboration between the media and civil society organisations, so that people could be empowered to hold leaders accountable.

He added that journalists must take a "class position" by delving more into the analysis of issues, especially those affecting the education of children.

That, he said, was because both the media and civil society organisations were pursuing the same cause to promote the common interest of majority of the people.

For his part, the Director of PRONET North, Mr Martin Dery, said the organisation was ready to partner the media in a strategic way to continually bring to the fore challenges facing schoolchildren.

He said it was time people demanded from policy makers and other interested parties in education what was due them and their respective communities.

He stressed the preparedness of his outfit to complement the efforts of other institutions in achieving that goal.

Story: Chris Nunoo