The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin is advocating a nationally accepted Condition of Service Scheme for Ghanaian journalists.
Speaking at a press soirée in Takoradi as part of activities marking 30 years of Uninterrupted Democracy under the Fourth Republic, Mr. Bagbin questioned why the nation has not developed such a scheme for the journalist even if it’s the minimal.
“We are really worried about the state of the media. It’s not only the fear and the intimidation, or the attacks and violence against media personnel but the working environment of the Media personnel. If the media is that important, how come the country has not come out to clearly spell out some conditions of service, even if it’s the minimal for the media personnel?
“How come people don’t appreciate the product of the media? Whether public or private, what the media does is for the public good. So you can see that because of what is happening to the media, our Human Rights record is gradually on the decline and there is the need for us to relook at the welfare and conditions of service of the media practitioner”, Mr. Bagbin stated.
He continued: “Yes! We have the executive and it means they are to execute whatever we decide to do or must lead us to implementing whatever we have decided. You have the legislature which traditionally is to legislate or stamp the decisions taken by all into law. And then we have the judiciary to mediate and intervene where what has not been legitimized is being used to govern.”
The Speaker of Parliament also called on journalists in the country to improve their professionalism since a lot is demanded from them.
“However, in these three institutions, if we allow them just to be operating, nobody will know what they are doing. And so, as media, what can you improve, what they are doing or how can you hold them to do what they must do? So that important arm that links all these important institutions with the people is the media. So the media is so important in a democracy”, he said.
Mr. Bagbin also commended the media for their unflinching support in his political career since his days as Member of Parliament and subsequently elected as Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament.
“I have been a true friend of the media and I have always appreciated and commended the media highly. If it wasn’t for the media, I’m not sure I would be a Speaker of Parliament. If not for the media, I wouldn’t have succeeded in winning seven successive elections and staying in Parliament up till this time. I recognized it very early and since 1995, I have worked with the media throughout. I sponsored and continue to sponsor media practitioners at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, but I don’t personally take ownership of any of them.”