Africa-Press – Ghana. Government’s maiden Media Capacity Enhancement Program (MCEP) has ended with a call on beneficiaries to let the training enhance their practice. The programme, designed to help improve the skills and competence of media practitioners, awarded certificates to the first cohorts of 60 media practitioners, who completed a week-long residential training that covered media law and ethics, impact journalism, new media and investigative journalism among other essential areas.
The participants were drawn from the various media associations, including the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), and the Private Newspapers Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG).
The training, which is being rolled out across the country to benefit some 900 media practitioners, is expected to impact delivery across the media landscape; enhance editorial policy and journalistic ethics. It is also to provide the skills for impactful and investigative journalism.
Madam Fatimatu Abubakar, the Deputy Minister for information, at the closing ceremony, commended participants for committing to the training; the success of, which she said was the “beauty of collaboration” between all stakeholders.
She expressed gratitude on the behalf of all, to the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who had shown personal commitment to the initiative, and chaired its launch at the Manhyia Palace, and later hosted the participants to a dinner.
The Deputy Minister added that Government recognised and prioritised the need to address capacity training deficits within the media landscape, thus engaged seasoned experts to lead the initiative; therefore some significant improvement was expected.
“As it is said, to whom much is given, much is expected. I know that we haven’t given you much, but from the bottom of our hearts we have given our best and we hope to do better in the near future,” she said.
Madam Abubakar, on the sidelines, addressed some growing assertions that the Government’s resolve to undertake training for the media was unpopular and a possible attempt to court practitioners to support political agendas.
She insisted that there existed no attempt to influence the work of the media, and that the aim of the training remained purely to help provide the public with quality information.
The programme, a vision of Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, was designed by a committee chaired by Professor Kwamina Quansah Aidoo, Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism. Prof Aidoo, said he was impressed with feedback from the participants, but said the sought impact would be measured in practice.
“The best advert for the programme, because this is just the beginning, would be for those of you who have participated here to go and put into practice what you have learnt here. I will be likening this to the Great Commission. Go into your media houses, go into the world and make disciples of your people, especially your members,” he said, noting that feedback from participants would be used to improve the programme.
Participants remarked that the training was of essence, and called for more practical components to be considered. They asked that it was extended to cover owners and managers of media outlets who wielded wide influence over media practice. Appeals were also made to include other modules such as data journalism.
“It has been a very impactful training and very successful. It is very rare to see government supporting journalists. Such initiative is very rare and I commend Government for training journalists to do their work better,” Francis Anyomi, Coordinator for the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association in the Volta and Oti Regions, told the GNA.
Some other participants expressed hope that it would benefit practitioners in the deprived and remote areas where such formal training is nonexistent.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, launching the initiative, which is on the theme “Equipping the Media to Play an Effective Role in our Nation Building”, expressed concerns over the fact that despite its role, the media remained an overlooked estate of the realm.
He encouraged practitioners to maintain their crucial roles, and abide by the constitution and work ethics to help build the nation and protect its democratic credentials. GNA