The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is calling on the leadership of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to explain to the media fraternity the extent of the Association’s involvement in the disbursement of the GH¢1million Media Development Fund.
Following demands by the MFWA including a joint statement with over 70 media organisations on the whereabouts of the fund, the Minister for Information and Media Relations, Mahama Ayariga, has disclosed that the money was used to purchase 952 laptops for journalists.
The Minister told Parliament that the laptops were purchased by the Ministry after consultations with key media stakeholder groups – the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) and Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA).
In subsequent media interviews, the Information Minister, disclosed that the chunk of the laptops went to the GJA.
Meanwhile, GIBA has denied being part of any consultation. The group, which represents the over 100 private broadcasters in the country, has also denied receiving any laptops procured from the funds.
The National Media Commission, the statutory body mandated to promote media development and professional standards in the country has not been mentioned as being part of the discussions that led to the procurement of the said laptops.
It is worrying that the disbursement of the MDF has been characterised by lack of transparency and accountability. This has been manifested by the inconsistencies in information given by the GJA, PRINPAG and the Ministers of Information.
Meanwhile, more media organisations are joining the campaign to seek transparency and accountability on the Fund. We urge journalists and Media organisations to support this campaign.