The newly sworn in Minister for Information, Ms. Fatimatu Abubakar has paid a working visit to the National Secretariat of the Private Newspapers and Online News Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG).

The visit on Tuesday May 21, 2024, was to enable her familiarize with the challenges of private media owners and to explore avenues of mutual collaboration.

In her remarks, Ms. Fatimatu Abubakar expressed gratitude to PRINPAG for supporting her Ministry over the years.

She affirmed her commitment to continue the collaborations initiated by her predecessors to enhance the growth and development of the print and online media. She assured of frequent engagements with PRINPAG to enhance a support system for private news publishers in the country.

Among others, she revealed that the draft Broadcasting Bill is about 90% ready and that the revised draft document has been received from the Office of the Attorney General and approved by cabinet for laying in parliament.

She appealed to PRINPAG to offer its maximum support during the public consultation stages so that the final document that would come out from parliament would be what stakeholders really want.

“I ask that all the support you gave to my predecessor, you give to me too. There are some key developments that I know I will need your collaboration. About the Broadcasting Bill for example, we have submitted the draft to the Attorney General and they have given us results that shows work done is about 90% complete,” she noted.

President of PRINPAG, Andrew Edwin Authur, on his part expressed satisfaction with the work of the Minister since her days as a deputy minister of information, through to her elevation to the substantive Minister position.

He assured the Minister of the Association’s continued support as she assumes full control of the Ministry.He described the Minister’s working visit to the Association’s secretariat as historic as it stands to foster positive relationship between PRINPAG and the Ministry of Information.

He called for further training for members of the Association to enhance their skills and capacity to make them more viable in the discharge of their duties as the fourth arm of the realm.

“This is the first time a high-ranking minister has visited PRINPAG in recent times; and we believe this is going to open doors for a lot of collaborations. There used to be good collaborations in the past but things changed. We need to do retrospection and see what we have done wrong,” he stated.

He said the media in Ghana today is much challenged as there are virtually no support to private news publishers, unlike in some African countries where the state has made it a key responsibility to support the media to be very productive.

“The story must change. Journalists in Ghana are struggling to pay their rent and feed their children. Some have to beg or sleep outside. I believe the situation can turn around if we collaborate,” he noted.

The president of PRINPAG also lamented the fact that some members of PRINPAG lack adequate managerial skills that would enable them run their media houses effectively for profit.

“Most of our members need managerial skills. Surprisingly, our journalism schools don’t teach managerial skills.

These are some of the things working against us. But we don’t have to throw our hands in the air in despair because there is hope in the new minister who is very active. We believe that with her track record, we can do more.”

Other issues of concern that came up at the meeting included the need for a deliberate state policy on media advertising, reducing taxes on raw materials for printing, subsidizing newsprints, capacity building for journalists, among others.