Professional journalists working in the media have been asked to kick out charlatans who go around town including events grounds parading themselves as journalists to extort money from people.
“If you go to an event and you see non-journalists who are just there for “Soli”, I think you should kick them out. At the Press Centre, we kick some of these people out. So those of us who call ourselves journalists, whenever we see these people who are trying to occupy our space and mess up we should kick them out,” she stressed.
The advice came from a renowned media consultant, Dr. Doris Yaa Dartey on the sideline of the commemoration of the World Radio Day 2017.
Dr. Doris Dartey who is also a member of the National Media Commission (NMC), the state media regulator, bemoaned the rate at which attitudes of some ‘unscrupulous persons’ parading themselves within the media space as practitioners or journalists to extort money from event organizers has dented the image of the once revered media profession before the public eye.
She strongly believes the operations of the so-called ‘fake journalists’ and untrained persons within the media space is a major contributory factor to falling standards of the practice of journalism these days in Ghana.
“I remember many, many years ago when I started as an out-of-school trained journalist, there were very few journalists. Now suddenly, everybody wants to be a journalist. It’s amazing; do you know what they expect to get out of it? So many fraudsters in the media today.
They are people who are hovering around journalism, who are not journalists; they are there just because they want to collect “Soli”.
They are there for mischief, she lamented. When asked what could be done to remedy the situation, she said, “We have not really found a way to weed off these people because journalism is a fluid profession; fluid I mean anybody can come in.
For example, a lawyer can become a journalist, the same way a doctor can also be a journalist so because of the nature of the profession, for that matter the nature of the beasts we can’t really kick them out, but we can kick them out.
“So we as professional journalists must put our shoulders to the wheel and kick them out. I personally kick them out; I’m able to boldly tell them, you get out”.
According to her, the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) has had its hands tied up over the issue of removing the so-called charlatans from the media system since it can ‘only do a little’ because ‘it is just a membership association’.
Dr. Dartey, who happened to be the immediate past chairperson of Ghana’s biggest newspaper group, Graphic Communications Group, blames the media owners partly for the problem.
She lamented most of the media owners are hiring people they know are not professionals simply because they don’t want to part with money for services.
She however suggested the National Media Commission must step in to “see how we can weed off some of these people, and discourage them”, but added that the onus lies on the media owners.
Meanwhile, Director of Research, Statistics and Information Management of Ministry of Information, Ms. Patricia Dovi Sampson has called on the government to revisit the broadcasting bill and make it operational when approved by parliament.
The World Radio Day event was organized by Farm Radio International with support from UNESCO in Accra on Monday, February 13 2016.
It witnessed a brainstorming session on what should be done to make radio vibrant as a powerful tool of broadcasting in Ghana.
In attendance were journalists including seasoned broadcasters who expressed their views on the importance of the day.