A more experienced journalist should have called for the interview – Ursula jumps to Cecilia Dapaah’s defense | General News 2019-07-23
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General News of Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Source: ABCnewsgh.com

A more experienced journalist should have called for the interview – Ursula jumps to Cecilia Dapaah’s defense

Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has defended the actions of Cecilia Dapaah, Sanitation Minister who refused to grant an interview to an intern of Accra based Adom FM.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful believes the behaviour of the intern is suggestive of the ‘chronic disrespect for political office holders in Ghana.’

On Monday, Adom FM reported on how the Sanitation Minister dismissed, Rahinatu Abdul Bach’s request for an interview because she felt disrespected an intern had called to interview her.

‘Who gave you the permission to call me to speak to me directly like that? You don’t respect…please go off’ Cecilia Dapaah is reported to have said.

However, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful is of the strong conviction that the Sanitation Minister was right in demanding that a relatively senior and more experienced journalist ought to be the one requesting for the said interview.

“And yes, ministers and senior officials can and should insist that the right trained personnel who understand their job and know the implications of their actions alone should interact with them. There is nothing wrong with that. Thank you Hon Cecilia Abena Dapaah for calling the young intern out and reminding the media house which committed this faux pas of some basic tenets of their profession. In these days of fake news and chronic misreporting, it is critical that we do not expose our public officials to ridicule just because some budding journalists want to make headlines,” Ursula stressed in a write up on her Facebook page.

The Communications Minister spared no chance in suggesting better ways of handling interviews with people in authority to managers of the Kokomlemle based radio station.

She remarked that, “That’s what serious organisations who value their corporate reputation do. And they apologise when they step out of line instead of blaming those who insist on the right thing being done. An intern or trainee should not be sent to interview anyone or interact with senior officials without supervision. A minister is not the training ground for an intern. You crawl before you stand and walk. If you can’t invest resources in providing them with the proper practical skills, don’t take them in.”

Below is Ursula Owusu-Ekuful’s post on her Facebook page.

This chronic disrespect for political office holders in Ghana is getting quite nauseating. Try getting into the office of a minister anywhere in the world without an appointment and see if you’ll be allowed in. In Ghana, the minister will be roasted because they are public officers so should be at everyone’s beck and call. You can’t just pick up the phone and insist on an interview without prior arrangement and the media house must send the appropriately trained personnel to conduct the interview.

An intern must be supervised by a superior when out on the field to ensure they acquire the right on the job skills. Even as a qualified lawyer doing my pillage in Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co, I was supervised by a senior lawyer and never let loose on my own to deal with clients for fear of making mistakes that might cost the firm. That’s how you learn. (and you should never be so arrogant as to think graduation from school gives you all the skills you need to work) That’s what serious organisations who value their corporate reputation do.

And they apologise when they step out of line instead of blaming those who insist on the right thing being done. An intern or trainee should not be sent to interview anyone or interact with senior officials without supervision. A minister is not the training ground for an intern. You crawl before you stand and walk. If you can’t invest resources in providing them with the proper practical skills, don’t take them in.

And yes, ministers and senior officials can and should insist that the right trained personnel who understand their job and know the implications of their actions alone should interact with them. There is nothing wrong with that. Thank you Hon Cecilia Abena Dapaah for calling the young intern out and reminding the media house which committed this faux pas of some basic tenets of their profession. In these days of fake news and chronic misreporting, it is critical that we do not expose our public officials to ridicule just because some budding journalists want to make headlines.

Maybe we are no longer interested in accurate reportage and any soundbite or noise will do, but in the final analysis, quality work will always stand out and be rewarded. It pays to take time to learn well and acquire the right skills in any profession, including journalism. I salute Paul Ansah, Sefa Kayi Sakyi-Addo, Afenyi-Dadzie et al.