So in Ghana, everything must be provided by the government—including journalistic coverage structures of events such as the Independence Day?
I have seen several people commenting on photos of Ghanaian journalists packed at the back of a tipper truck on social media—somewhat upset that the government asked them to jump on that for proper coverage of Ghana’s 59th Independence Day Celebration.
What’s the government’s fault in this? NONE.
I do not know how journalism is done and which media houses these journalists work for in Ghana, but I can share a bit of my experience out here and the events I have covered as a press person in Europe—I mean how journalism is done out here to the best of my knowledge.
Let me start with the annual Cannes Film Festival; last year, over 4000 Journalists and Film Critics gathered in Cannes, France, for the annual film festival. And as usual, just like the last 5 years, I was one of them, from my own little media house, GhanaCelebrities.Com.
Getting a Press accreditation to Cannes is like trying to buy cocaine in heaven, but that’s a different story for another day.
At Cannes, I saw Hollywood Reporter journalists, TMZ, BBC, NY Times, Chinese Media,the Guardian, Mail Online, RT, Aljazeera and all the big media houses you can think of.
Here is the point; these media houses provided their own coverage structures—the various paparazzi had their own tall standing tables.
You work for a media house, and your employer out to provide you with the best equipment and service conditions—not the government whose event you are to cover.
Of course the government must to some extent provide certain basic conditions during the time of work—this must be pre-agreed with your employer. But the core equipment and structures which would be needed for perfect coverage and execution of your job must reasonable come from your employer—the media house you work for.
Also, before you attend any event as a media person, you must first ask of the conditions, the structures and things available for professional execution of your job.
Back to Cannes; while those of us from small media houses struggled, the big guys like Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair had mounted several units and mini houses for their reporters, they even served their reporters with lunch and all—this is the work of the media house not the organizers of the festival or the government of France.
So if you are from let’s say Peace Fm and you are going to cover the Independence Day, your media house must provide elevating structures—not the government.
Even if you believe it’s the government’s duty, this must be pre-arranged and if you get there to see that the things agreed on are not available, walk away.
You are respected only to the extent that you respect yourself.
I have been flown into Ghana several times to cover events and have been put in some of the expensive hotels in Ghana while other journalists or media men who covered the same event were not even paid the peanut they were promised.
It’s not that I am better than them, but it’s because I insist on respect and I sincerely do respect what I do. If we can’t agree on conditions of service, I won’t offer my service too.
If you are desperate, hungry and unprofessional, you will get a corresponding treatment.
So instead of blaming the government all the time, what about looking at our own backyards; the employers and also how we position ourselves as working men and women.
The truth is; journalism is cheap in Ghana—and that’s what you get.