140 Journalists trained under Ministry of Information initiative — Minister

The Ministry of Information has supervised the training of 140 journalists in the country since 2022 under its Media Capacity Enhancement Programme (MCEP), the sector Minister, Fatimatu Abubakar, has said.

She said the training was carried out in partnership with the UNDP and the British Council. The minister said her outfit intended to organise another training for an estimated 50 to 100 journalists this month.

In addition, she said, there was also a bursary support and grants from the International Fund for Public Interest Media journalists. She, therefore, encouraged them to apply. Ms Abubakar, who said this when she paid a familiarisation visit to the Graphic Communications Group Ltd. (GCGL) in Accra, explained that the training formed part of the ministry’s media support programmes.

The other initiative is Coordinated Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists (CMSJ) which is being organised in collaboration with the National Media Commission (NMC).

Ms Abubakar said recognising the risk reporters were likely to face, especially in an election period, the programmes were necessary. “There are a lot of media houses in the space who may not be able to afford such training for their staff. So we created this opportunity just to provide the best support,” she said.

The minister said her outfit had nothing to do with the training content, certification and faculty, and that it was media organisations that engaged CSOs and academic institutions to constitute faculties to come up with curriculum for such training.

She said the ministry’s role in the programme was to look at the budget, approve it and find money, “so we are encouraging you to make good use of the MCEP so that we can train as many staff as possible”.

On assault of journalists, Ms Abubakar said the ministry had always insisted that alleged perpetrators were sent to the police station to write their statements so that such cases could be pursued in court.

“You will observe that recently, when cases have been brought against even high-profile politicians, where the victims and their media houses have said they were amenable to mediation, the ministry, together with GJA, GBA, PRINPAG and other allies, have come in to ensure alleged victims do not go into any mediation or negotiation without a very strong backing,” she added.

Fake news
The Editor, Graphic, Theophilus Yartey, assured the minister that none of the GCGL brands would propagate, articulate or amplify fake news, especially during electioneering. He said the brands which were noted for credible stories would continue to live by the journalistic standards of ensuring balanced and unbiased reportage.

The Managing Director of GCGL, Ato Afful, entreated the ministry to allow the company the opportunity to install its news app on the electronic devices being distributed to schools since the students would also benefit from such services.

On the digitisation of old publications of the GCGL newspapers, he said when completed, it would be a good source of reference materials for research and fact-checking.

Source: graphic.com.gh