The leadership of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has paid a courtesy call on the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr. Joseph Whittal at the Commission’s Head Office in Accra.
The delegation was led by its President, Mr. Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, and some executives including its Public Relations Officer, Ms. Rebecca Ekpe, National Organizing Secretary, Dominic Hlordzi and the President’s Executive Secretary /Acting Administrator of the International Press Center, Michael Efo Mawugbe.
The meeting was to enable the new executives of the Association formally introduce themselves to the Commissioner and also discuss matters of mutual interest.
Mr. Dwumfour commenced his remarks by congratulating the Commission for its thorough Report on the petition brought against Prof. Frimpong Boateng by a private citizen Mr. Arnold Agbodo, indicating that the Commission’s work, had brought clarity to the intense public discourse on the issue.
The GJA President shared with the Commissioner some of the initiatives undertaken by his administration to reposition the GJA into a more attractive brand to prospective and existing members.
Visibility and Membership Drive
He stated that prior to the call for membership applications, there has been an aggressive social media visibility campaign to project the new GJA to the public which has resulted in numerous membership requests from all parts of the country. He said the Association currently has over 300 pending requests from prospective applicants which excludes requests from all the regions of the country, adding that the Ghana International Press Center is under renovation to give it a befitting facelift in connection with the rebranding exercise.
Welfare of Journalists
Mr. Dwumfuor disclosed that a Journalists’ Support Fund has been set up to protect journalists and provide legal support when their rights are abused in their line of work. He further remarked that the Association is set to complete the unionization of the media to ensure proper conditions of service for its members.
Review of GJA Awards
The GJA President confirmed that, having successfully organized the 27th GJA Awards, a special committee has been setup by the Association to review the annual GJA awards and make recommendations for the next edition.
He also indicated that a community development initiative dubbed ‘See Something, Say Something to a Journalist’ has been launched by the Association, explaining that the programme would see journalists go into communities to get first hand information on issues facing the citizenry and bring them to the appropriate authorities including CHRAJ for redress.
International Press Freedom Day
The visit was used to formally invite the Commissioner of CHRAJ to deliver some remarks at a Lecture and Flag-Raising Event in commemoration of this year’s World Press Freedom Day slated for Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at the International Press Center.
Partnership with CHRAJ
The GJA offered to partner CHRAJ by providing the Ghana International Press Center as a platform for CHRAJ to organize future press conferences on its Decisions and Special Reports.
Capacity Building for Journalists
The GJA expressed its interest in participating in future capacity building sessions for journalists organized by CHRAJ to develop the reporting and writing skills of its members on CHRAJ’s mandate areas.
Response from the Commission
Commissioner Whittal on his part informed the GJA executives that the media was a critical stakeholder of the Commission and that it was important to work together. He expressed his appreciation for the partnership offer from the GJA to act as a conduit for disseminating information from CHRAJ to the public.
He further stated that Ghanaians would be pleased with the development as they preferred to hear from CHRAJ directly on its Investigations, Decisions and Findings other than news reports and publications.
Other Activities of CHRAJ
Mr. Joseph Whittal hinted that CHRAJ will in October this year, host a conference for all National Human Rights Institutions in Africa to discuss Business and Human Rights after which Ghana’s Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice’s Commissioner, Mr. Joseph Whittal would assume leadership as the Chairperson of the African Alliance.
Mr. Whittal is currently the West African Chairperson of all National Human Rights Institutions in Africa and his new appointment will be an elevation for the Commission and re-enforce Ghana’s status as an ‘A’ Status Commission.
The GJA pledged to give CHRAJ the needed support to make the conference a success.