The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has challenged the leadership of Ghana News Agency (GNA), a state-owned media outlet to adapt to changes in the market and ensure it maintain its relevance.
According to him, the old market place which GNA used its prominence to serve as a bulk distributor of news is no longer the same as the current trend.
Addressing Journalists during a tour at GNA head office in Accra, he said "Today, we have a pluralism of media houses in the industry, we have a multiplicity of platforms across the country, over 500 radio stations, 100 television platforms, several online and print platforms and so the old market place which the services of a bulk distributor of news, coming from a government news agency was so prominent but no longer that same market place and this means that state-owned media like that Ghana News Agency has to adapt to the changes in the market and ensure that you will maintain your relevance"
He added that although all the demands of the state-owned media outlet have not been met, he is happy about the conclusion of financial clearance to recruit about 40 new staff to augment its dwindled numbers.
"I am also excited that I think last year, we were able to conclude works to get you the financial clearance to recruit about 40 new staff to augment your numbers that have dwindled. This organization is one that you require the human resources to push so it is exciting to know that the financial clearance has been given and you are going to get an augmentation of your numbers so that you can deliver" he mentioned.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah further said "I am happy to note the comments that have been made by your general manager and by your board chair that in the last term of the Akufo-Addo administration and my watch as Minister for Information, you have as an institution, received a significant increase in your budgetary allocations and I think it is something, I take a personal point of pride in that we have been able to increase your budgetary allocations as an agency all be it not being enough or to the level that you want"
On his part, the Managing Director of Ghana News Agency (GNA), Albert Kofi Owusu said "GNA is 64years this year and is struggling to keep its operations going. Largely because of financial resources to back a determined workforce. Hon. Minister, GNA has survived its many challenges over the years mainly because of the determination of its core staff who have held on even when the numbers were depleting"
He explained that GNA's workforce currently stands at 105 stressing that it used to be 180 in 2012.
Mr. Owusu further hinted that the media outlet's editorial team which is spread across the country stands at 55 adding that it is woefully inadequate for an operation of such size.
"But thanks to your Ministry and personal interventions, we have secured the necessary clearance from the public services' commission and the Ministry of Finance to recruit 40 Editorial staff this year"
The MD, however, mentioned that he believes the yet to be recruited Editorial team will help to fully roll out its digital operations which began last year on a pilot basis.
"We have already engaged several media organizations including radio and tv stations who have expressed interest in our expanded media services including news in audio and video format. Hon. Minister, as you are aware, the future of journalism is here with us and that is new media. We are seeing more and more personalized content, intelligent algorithms, and fast delivery of news because of the new technologies"
Mr. Owusu assured the Minister for Information that GNA is poised to take a commanding role as the nation's only news service, dishing out stories to its growing lists of subscribers both domestically and globally.
The National Media Commission's (NMC) Boss, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo said "We consider those on the Board of GNA as those who are making sacrifices in the sense that the allowances are supposed to be paid by the Ministry of Finance and unlike the other ones who when after their meeting, they can pay them, sometimes, they have to wait for the whole year and it creates uncertainties and we are seriously thankful to them"
He suggested that an area should be considered and handed over as compensation for their long dedication and service to GNA.
Chairperson on Parliament’s Committee on Communications, Cynthia Morrison said "We are so grateful to you for receiving us to your premises. We just approved your budget and it is right for us to come and see exactly what we are approving the budget for and it's good that I came this morning because when I got downstairs, I looked at the building and I was like 'wow'; we need renovation. So coming here to see what you have started doing, I believe that as a committee, we are also going to push and make sure that you get what you deserve"
Board Chair of Ghana News Agency (GNA) Professor Olivia Kwapong thanked the Minister for Information and his delegation for showing love and paying them a visit.
"Once you are here, I would also want with your support and heart to also appreciate my board members for all the support they have been giving GNA since we have been serving as members of the board. It is a kind of sacrificial work but they are very committed to it"
Below are some pictures:
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith