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The Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) says media practitioners have been risking their lives to inform Ghanaians about the Coronavirus pandemic and deserve to benefit from the package government has made available to frontline workers.
President of the Association, at a joint press briefing with the Ghana Journalist Association and Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, called on government to set up a fund to cater for frontline media practitioners as it has done for health workers.
Edwin Arthur said, “all media practitioners who have been lending support to the national effort also as front liners in the fight against the spread of the virus and in this sense we expect to be elevated to that status for the purpose in the ensuing argument. Apart from our frontline role in educating the general populace on the dangers associated with COVID-19 and the need to observe critically all the safety measures and protocols most of us have come into direct contact with carriers and Coronavirus patients.”
Government has put out some interventions to support frontline health workers as they deliver essential services to the country during this Coronavirus pandemic era.
In his 5th address on the nation of the pandemic, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated that “On my part and on the part of government, we will continue to see what we can do to meet you halfway, ease the issues that you have. I think you heard my broadcast the other day, I indicated the measures that we want to put in place to support you in the work that you are doing.”
But PRINPRAG believes aside the health workers, journalists are also providing essential services to the country and must also be given a consideration by government.
“Interviewing them (patients) as well as doctors who have been treating these patients in all our attempts to bring to our various stakeholders, credible and reliable information on the pandemic. This, we see as a critical duty in line with the constitutional mandate as the fourth estate on the realm. By providing adequate information on the pandemic, thus exposing us to the same risk, our health workers are also exposed to. This being the case, PRINPAG urges the government and corporate institutions, to consider frontline media practitioners in the provision of PPE to enable us to arm ourselves adequately to lend support to other stakeholders in our collective fight against the spread of the virus,” the association’s president noted.
President of the Ghana Journalist Association, Roland Affail Monney, adding his voice to this call, further urged government to also make free bus services available to journalists and that media houses shouldn’t be left out of the 1 billion stimulus package as most media houses are struggling to pay salaries.
“Media houses should be considered in the stimulus package. Provision of PPE and transport for journalists by way of Aayalolo buses and other means should be given a topmost priority. We commend them highly for their frontline role. Ghana will surely win this fight,” he said.
Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has also added his voice, urging that journalists be included in the "frontline workers" description.
Dr Sulemana Braimah told Joy News that the work of a journalist is very essential since they, the journalists, are to report to the masses constantly about the progress the country is making in combating the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus.
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