The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has cautioned media organisations and practitioners to adhere to all precautionary and safety measures recommended by the Ghana Health Service to prevent contracting COVID-19 in the line of their work.
The Association, in a statement signed by its Vice-President, Linda Asante-Agyei, said journalists are at a greater risk of contracting the viral disease as they go on the field to report on the situation in order to inform the public.
“The health crisis is likely to have serious consequences on media practitioners and their working conditions in newsrooms, given the closeness of contact in their workplaces. The situation has become even more precarious with the recording of community transmission cases of COVID-19,” the statement said.
The Association has therefore asked journalists to endeavour to use personal protective equipment such as gloves and face masks, especially when engaging infected persons or reporting from compromised sites.
The association has also advised journalists and media practitioners to, as much as possible, adopt innovative ways of news gathering and reporting such as the use of Skype and telephone for interviewing instead of inviting panelists to the studios for interviews.
It has also called on media owners to acquire Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) such as gloves, bodysuit and full face mask for use by their reporters who may be engaging infected persons or reporting from compromised sites.
The GJA says it will soon roll out training programmes for journalists on how to safely and effectively report on COVID-19 and equip the media with the appropriate information.
The GJA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and the Ghana Health Service, yesterday started training programmes on how to report effectively on COVID-19 and to equip the media with the appropriate information.
The training programmes, which took off in Accra, will be extended to all the regions within the week.
“As journalists scale up efforts to educate the public on the pandemic, we reiterate the need for them to spread calm and not fear,” it added.