Gayheart Mensah, an aspiring candidate for the presidency of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has called for partnership between the private media, development partners, and the state, given the role of the media in the sustenance of democracy and in national development.
He was speaking during a meeting with the journalists working on the “Daily Guide” newspaper as part of his campaign tour of media houses in Accra.
He said his interactions with the private media across the country over the years show a sector with the majority of players struggling to survive.
“The livestream of the media is advertising. For the private media, particularly those in the regions and outside the main cities, it is a tough call for them. There is little to no advertising revenue. Some struggle to break even, whilst the majority run at a loss. The proprietors of such media firms continue to operate out of sheer passion: nothing more.”
Gayheart suggested that every organization that has the continued success of Ghana’s democracy at heart and also wished to see the private media contribute effectively to national development should be interested in how the private media survive.
“What we do as journalists reflects the state in which our country is. We partner with both the public and private sectors of this country for different causes. Consequently, the government, private sector, donor agencies, and multilateral organizations must be interested in the state of the private media,” he said.
He promised to lead conversations when elected as the GJA President, that will attract the desired attention for the sustenance of private media. He also spoke about capacity building, improving upon the level of professionalism, and enhancing the operations of the private media as areas requiring urgent attention.
The aspirant used the opportunity to provide details on his campaign slogan POWER-UP, which has caught on with a lot of journalists.
POWER in his campaign slogan represents Professionalism, Organization, Welfare, Empowerment and Restoration/Respect for the journalism profession, whilst the UP is a rallying call for the association to step up its game and take up its rightful place as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, not just in theory but in a very pragmatic way.
Throwing more light on his POWER-UP message, Gayheart said his tenure would see a lot more capacity building to enhance the professionalism of members.
He pledged that the GJA secretariat under his leadership will be organized to improve upon membership services and effectively drive participation in critical national conversations. The welfare of members of the association was of great importance to the aspirant as well, for which he outlined a number of initiatives.
Gayheart is believed to be the front-runner in the elections, which date is yet to be determined. His current lead is due to his impressive professional profile, his long association with the GJA – longer than any of the other candidates – and his vast experience in journalism practice, including the lecture halls.
He is credited with a lot of dynamism and is believed to have waged the most effective, issues-based campaign so far, using a multiplicity of communication tools and channels.
Apart from lecturing in Advanced Journalism and Development Journalism at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), he has worked with the “Ghanaian Times”, “Graphic Showbiz”, “Daily Graphic” and was the Acting Editor of the “Evening News” about 21 years ago.
He was a pioneering panellist of the Joy FM flagship programme, News File, and also a pioneering member of the GTV Breakfast Show programme.