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Opinions of Sunday, 12 September 2021

Columnist: Afia Agyapomaa Ofosu

These lay-offs in the media are worrying

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Recently, it was reported that some staff at TV3 had been laid off as a result of a redundancy exercise carried out by the company. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, another one of Ghana’s privately owned broadcasting company, TV Africa, embarked on a similar exercise.

Indeed, in the recent past, there has been news of a number of media practitioners losing their jobs because their respective companies were incapable of generating enough revenue to pay their salaries. Such affected persons often receive just one month’s salary and their severance packages become a back-and-forth battle between them and their employers.

Actions like these often impose huge financial and psychological burden on any worker. Besides the fact that the media industry is losing experienced people, such actions also discourage young people with the passion to pursue media related careers in Ghana from doing so.

Recently, I attended a graduation ceremony at one of Ghana’s communications schools and out of the hundreds of graduates, only a handful of them studied journalism. Many opted for other communication courses such as Strategic and Development Communications so they could work in corporate institutions where job security is stable.

The poor working conditions and indecent salaries of journalists are also issues of concern. The salary for some media practitioners in some private media entities ranges between GHC300 and GHC600. The most painful aspect of it all is that in some institutions staff are unpaid and they rely on ‘soli’ (white envelopes) that organisers of events give them. This situation, however, may differ from what pertains in the state-owned media companies.

This is the time for media persons to demand a regulated salary structure to ensure that personnel in both the public and private media houses are appropriately paid. The government, Ministry of Information and the Ghana Journalist’s Association must deliberate on suitable ways to ensure that Ghanaian media staff receive better working conditions. There should be a national salary structure for media staff in the country just like other professionals.

Journalists are good at trumpeting the welfare of others but never for themselves. Journalists in Ghana deserve better working conditions and remuneration and if there is any better time for them to stand up and demand what they deserve, that time is now.