Prof Karikari advocates media development fund

The Board Chairman of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Professor Kwame Karikari, has made a strong case for the establishment of a media development fund by the government that can deliver patient and low-cost finance to sustain the media.

The proposed fund, he said, should be a highly competitive credit facility with lower interest rates deliberately designed to help support the development of a strong media in the country’s post coronavirus (COVID-19) economic recovery.

At the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting last Tuesday in Accra, Professor Karikari said the fund should be better planned, thoroughly thought-out in order to become sustainable for the industry.

“The media is business and like other companies, the media constantly need capital injection to grow and continue to execute their mandate in accordance with the 1992 Constitution, as the backbone of the country’s democracy,” he said.

He said the current financial structure failed to embrace the peculiarities of the media, resulting in the inability of them to access funds for growth and survival.

Prof. Karikari said the media houses in the country were currently facing some form of sustainability challenges which needed to be addressed with appropriate intervention.

“Frist of all, our economy is a weak one but it is further weakened by the pandemic and that makes it an even greater imperative for the establishment of a stimulus to sustain the media.

“Indeed, we cannot expect the government to provide stimulus specifically for every sector of the economy but we think the media is a crucial sector that needs the intervention of the government to execute its mandate effectively,” Professor Karikari added.

Mainstream media

A digital marketing and communications expert, Mr Stephen N. Boadi, urged the mainstream media to insist on the ethics of the profession in order to stay relevant.

Although people often turn to social media for information, he said they still resort to traditional media to validate that information accessed on the social media.

“But I think the traditional media needs to embrace social media, especially the bloggers, so that they can be influenced to adhere to ethics of the profession,” he said.

He said with the exception of a few incidents, the role of the media in the reportage of the pandemic had been very positive.

Going forward, he said the media should move from only selling advert space to analysing data to target consumers.

COVID-19 opportunity

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of ABN Holdings, Mr George Twumasi, said the COVID-19 was a fantastic opportunity in the sense of re-setting the media agenda in Africa.

He said the pandemic had made people aware of a new digital ecosystem.

“Although Ghana is positioned to become the digital hub in Africa, there are changes that need to be addressed in order to make this a reality,” he said.

The meeting

The breakfast meeting, which is an initiative of the GCGL and the Stanbic Bank, is a series of dialogues that feature selected topics and is aimed at influencing government policies in favour of businesses.

It brought together players in the private sector, policy makers and people from the government to deliberate on how media and marketing communication can become the springboard for the revival and advancement of African businesses and economies in a post-COVID-19 era.

The event was on the theme: “Media and Marketing Communication Post COVID-19: A catalyst for Africa’s Socio-Economic Resurgence”.

The meeting hosted other speakers such as the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Managing Director of the GCGL, Mr Ato Afful, and the Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, Mr Kwamina Asomaning.