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Stop It: "Government Will Dictate Everything If It Is The One Sponsoring The Ultimate Winner"- Azure

An investigative journalist and editor in chief for the fourth Estate media, Manasseh Azure Awuni has sent strong message to Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), that they should stop Government deciding to join them to give awards to Journalist who performed at the end of the year.

Manasseh Azure Awuni made this statement known today, Monday, 28th June, 2021 when his attention has been drawn to a message sent to him which states that the president of the republic is meeting Ghana Journalist Association leadership in discussing some agendas below;

1. Proposal for government to pick up prize( CAR or HOUSE) for Journalist of the Year .

2. Stimulus package for media. 

3. Safety of Journalists.

4. Capacity Enhancement .

5. Press Centre Redevelopment Project. 

6. AOB.

According to Manasseh Azure Awuni, Government will dictate everything if they will be the one Sponsoring the ultimate winner with pick up prize for Journalist of the year and revealed that members of GJA are not aware of the meeting to be held today.

Manasseh Azure Awuni stated that he have been reliably informed that some GJA executives, including the General Secretary, got to know about this meeting from one of the Journalists of the Year to whom the above invitation was sent. He stated that he have also been informed that the notification for the meeting was put on the GJA executives' platform only yesterday, but it was without the agenda, and hinted that the president said a limited number of GJA executives (excluding the outspoken General Secretary) and four Journalists of the Year were attending the meeting with the President.

He expressed his view by saying that "if the government wants to provide a stimulus package to the media, whose struggles have been compounded by Covid-19, it should come in the form of an income tax waiver so that it can be equitable. Dolling out cash will not only likely sideline critical or perceived opposition media, but some people will use this opportunity to "eat in the media's account" as we often say here."

According to him, If the government wants to help with the redevelopment of the Press Centre, it's a good idea provided there won't be unfavourable strings attached to the offer and argued that "my problem with the agenda is item number one. The government should stay off the GJA awards. Already, some shady corporate bodies have been alleged to have influenced who won what in the past".

Manasseh Azure Awuni said the main solution is to deal with the problems associated with the awards, and corporate bodies which will be willing to support the media in that regard.

"In our country, where the politicians would want to dictate everything, the government may want to have a say in who wins the awards if it is the one sponsoring the ultimate winner. It will want to call the tune when it is the one paying the piper" Manasseh Azure Awuni told GJA in his social media post.

He added that if there is the need for such decisions to be taken, why should other executives of the association be left out of decisions that will be binding on the entire GJA and journalists?

He finally advised that the most important need for journalists now is to be able to practice in an atmosphere of safety and independence. That is more important to critical-minded journalists than buying goodwill.

Read his full statement below.

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Manasseh Azure Awuni

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