COVID-19 STIMULUS PACKAGE:Media Stakeholders Call For ‘Alleviation Fund’

Stakeholders of the media fraternity havecalled on government to institute a Fund that will cushion media practitioners as they disseminate, educate and inform the general public on the novel pandemic, Coronovirus.

According to these stakeholders especially the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) media practitioners have been risking their lives to inform Ghanaians about the Coronavirus pandemic and deserve to benefit from the package government has made available to frontline workers.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) and Women in Media Association to drum home this agenda, the President of the Association, Mr. Andrew Edwin Arthur emphasized on the need for government to set up a fund dubbed “COVID-19 Media Alleviation Fund” to cater for frontline media practitioners as it has done for health workers.

According to him, “all media practitioners who have been lending support to the national effort are also front liners in the fight against the spread of the virus and in this sense we expect to be elevated to that status for the purpose in the ensuing argument”.

“Apart from our frontline role in educating the general populace on the dangers associated with COVID-19 and the need to observe critically all the safety measures and protocols most of us have come into direct contact with carriers and Coronavirus patients”, he revealed.

To cushion and motivate front line health workers, Government has put out some interventions for them as they deliver essential services to the country during this Coronavirus pandemic era.

In his 5th address to the nation on the pandemic on Sunday, 5th April,2020, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated that “On my part and on the part of government, we will continue to see what we can do to meet you halfway, ease the issues that you have. I think you heard my broadcast the other day, I indicated the measures that we want to put in place to support you in the work that you are doing.”

But PRINPRAG and other stakeholders believe aside the health workers, journalists are also providing essential services to the country and must also be given a consideration by government.

These media practitioners he asserted interviews patients as well as doctors who have been treating these patients in their attempts to bring to their various stakeholders, credible and reliable information on the pandemic.

“This, we see as a critical duty in line with the constitutional mandate as the fourth estate on the realm, that is by providing adequate information on the pandemic, thus exposing us to the same risk, our health workers are also exposed t”, he noted.

This being the case, the PRINPAG President who is,also the Managing Editor of The New Independent newspaper and online urged the government and corporate institutions, to consider frontline media practitioners in the provision of PPE to enable them to arm themselves adequately to lend support to other stakeholders in our collective fight against the spread of the virus.

Adding his voice to PRINPAG call, the President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Roland Affail Monney, called for the availability of free buse services for journalists and that, media houses shouldn’t be left out of the 1 billion stimulus package as most media houses are struggling to pay salaries.

“Media houses should be considered in the stimulus package, provision of PPE and transport for journalists by way of Aayalolo buses and other means should be given a topmost priority, he stressed.

He therefore used the ocassion to commend media practitioners across the country for their highly frontline role adding Ghana will surely win this fight.

Source: www.thenewindependentonline.com/ Ishmael Barfi/ senghana@gmail.com

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