The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the parent body overseeing the welfare of journalists in the country, appears to have split following the formation of a group calling itself Society of Professional Journalist-Ghana (SPJ).
According to Abu Issah Monnie, a leading member of the SPJ, they managed to register close to 1,000 journalists nationwide and they are expected to intensify their operations next year after successfully incorporating the association under the laws of the country recently.
The latest development is a setback for journalists as they struggle to find a common voice to shape the practice of the profession.
Sulemana Braimah, Deputy Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), when contacted for the foundation’s view on the current development, expressed grave concern about recent happenings in the journalists’ front.
He said even though the Constitution guaranteed freedom of speech, assembly and association, there was the need for dialogue to enable the disgruntled members to calm down, saying “it is always good to come to the table to dialogue.”
“It is going to weaken the front of journalism. It happened in Mali and it weakened their collective power, so we should not take some of these issues lightly.”
When reached on phone, Affail Monney, President of the GJA said he was in a meeting but remarked that “we have freedom of association and they cannot be prevented.”
Abu Issah Monnie who is the Chief News Editor of Peace FM and who contested and lost as vice president during the GJA national elections earlier this year told DAILY GUIDE that he was no longer a member of the GJA.
He said the SPJ had set up its office in Abelempke, Accra and they were poised to serve the numerous members they have registered.
“We are motivated by the fact that we are lacking quality leadership in the front for journalists in this country.”
He said that the welfare of journalists had not been pursued hard enough adding, “Anytime a member is in trouble, there is no social security or insurance or any form of protection.”
Abu Issah Monnie also said that SPJ had noted with concern, journalists practicing without requisite training and they were therefore prepared to build the capacities of such journalists.