Specifically a thirty day period ago, I wrote an write-up with the headline “The Media deserve a stimulus package” the place I advocated the will need for the governing administration to support all media properties in the state with some relief products thinking of the great part they are actively playing in the combat versus the unfold of the novel coronavirus. I, between other things, proposed to the authorities to contemplate the next: Waving the value of renewing frequency authorization at the very least for a single yr.
- Pay back the price of electricity invoice covering a interval of 6 months.
- Pay out the price tag of drinking water monthly bill covering a interval of six months.
- Cut down their tax returns at minimum 70%.
My proposal was premised on the ¢1 billion stimulus bundle below a Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) declared by the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, on March 27, 2020. The sum is to mitigate the impression of the coronavirus on corporations and households and be certain task losses are minimized.
My connect with for a stimulus bundle for the media was re-echoed by the Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Affiliation (GIBA), Affiliation of Women of all ages in the Media (ASWIM), and the Non-public Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) at a joint press meeting held at the Accra Worldwide Press Heart on April 8, 2020.
At the celebration, a few points stood out among the the proposals presented by the group for government’s thing to consider. They consist of:
- provision of Own Protecting Products (PPE),
- transport for journalists by way of Ayalolo buses or other implies, and
- the environment up of a COVID-19 Media Alleviation Fund in line with what has been recognized at the COVID-19 Nationwide Trust Fund.
The topmost priority among the the a few products was the proposal for the establishment of a COVID-19 Media Alleviation Fund which was championed by the President of PRINPAG, Andrew Edwin Arthur.
This COVID-19 Media Alleviation Fund, according to Mr. Arthur, really should be managed by an unbiased entire body that would obtain proposals and vet them and make a decision on which help is suitable for an specific organisation.
He mentioned the similar body should really institute insurance coverage packages out of the fund to help media experts. “PRINPAG believes that these would go a long way to embolden Ghana’s media”, he noted.
Much as I guidance the institution of the COVID-19 Media Alleviation Fund which if carried out will deliver some reduction merchandise to guidance media homes, I do not subscribe to the setting up of an unbiased physique to control the fund. I say so because the disbursement of the Media Enhancement Fund that was set up President John Evans Atta-Mills of blessed memory is a case analyze to tutorial all of us.
The Fund was aimed at teaching and setting up the ability of media practitioners to provide much better success in conditions of prosecuting their numerous mandates for the growth of the region. Nevertheless, to day, no right accountability has been rendered as to how the Fund was used.
In January 2015, then Dean of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC), Mr. Andrew Edwin Arthur who is now the President of PRINPAG, demanded the where about of the Fund when he shipped an address at the stop of 12 months get together for the Corps.
“It is regrettable that such a laudable initiative has been abused by individuals who had been anticipated to cope with it, and I believe it will not be as well a lot to contact on the professionals of the Fund to arrive out and enable the Ghanaian media know the latest state of the Fund”, he noted in his address.
It is on record that some monies had been launched to the then Ministry of Details as the Media Advancement Fund, it nonetheless stays a simple fact that no good accountability has been rendered.
I imagine strongly that it was centered on this scenario that the President of PRINPAG identified as for an impartial entire body to manage the COVID-19 Media Alleviation Fund.
What ever it is, the point nevertheless remains that a human body was mandated to take care of the Fund but failed in its mandate. Consequently, the reason of creating the Fund was not realised. Considering that the outbreak of the Coronavirus which has so considerably media houses in Ghana have not been spared the brunt of this virus.
The practice of containment steps this kind of as social distancing has resulted in a ton of media houses informing some of their staff to both move forward on go away or get the job done from dwelling when rotating the couple that have been asked to report to perform.
Some media residences have even absent to the extent of mutually terminating the employment deal they have with some of their personnel. This is a measure to lower down charge even though sustaining the business. Advertising has sharply dropped because organizations are adopting price-cutting measures to mitigate the affect of COVID-19.
Events and promotions account for a chunk of revenue to a lot of media houses. On the other hand, COVID-19 has shut the doors to all out-doorway situations. Some of the non-public print media properties are even battling to develop both on every day or bi-weekly basis.
Production cost is weighing heavily on the media residences. Nonetheless, in spite of these worries, the media properties have lived up to expectation, specifically, pertaining to protection of COVID-19.
I will, as a result, suggest that the stimulus bundle currently being deemed by the federal government for media homes ought to involve the adhering to to make certain fairness or equitable distribution of condition means:
- Waiver of electrical power expenses for all media homes from March to December 2020.
- Waiver of all water expenditures for all media homes from March to December 2020.
- Waiver of cost in renewing frequency license for the calendar year 2021.
- All personal newspapers should really be directed to have their schedules talked about with the state-owned newspaper corporations that have printing push (Graphic Communications, Ghanaian Situations) and if achievable Daily Information (Private) for their newspapers to be printed. The expense will have to be absorbed by the authorities from the time period their schedule was approved to December 2020.
- Moreover, all media properties that will demand the injection of some liquidity into their operations should be designed to access a loan facility from a designated state-owned bank at zero percent desire level which is payable within just 5 yrs.
By so accomplishing, media homes could keep majority of their staff if not all, therefore, blocking enormous job losses in the field.
A properly considered out plan for the implementation of the aforementioned proposals will avoid bickering among the those people that will be deprived of these relief merchandise and the federal government will have its peace of intellect.
The writer of this report, Stephen Odoi-Larbi is a member of the Parliamentary Push Corps.