GJA celebrates 70th anniversary today

By Mutala Yakubu
GJA celebrates 70th anniversary today
GJA celebrates 70th anniversary today

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) will today August 15, 2019, celebrate their 70th birthday anniversary.

The celebration will be held at a ceremony in Accra. There will be the cutting of the anniversary cake and reflections on the history and relevance of the association by some distinguished personalities at the ceremony.

The GJA in a statement signed by General Secretary Mr. Kofi Yeboah, said the Chairman of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh, will be the guest speaker.

Other key speakers are former GJA President, Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, the Chairman of the National Peace Council (NPC), Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, and the first Ghanaian General Manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Dr. G.T. Anim.

Representatives of key partners of GJA will also deliver goodwill messages. They include the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), UNESCO Ghana and the US Embassy in Accra.

The statement said the event which would be telecasted live on GTV, Atinka TV, GHOne, TV3 and other broadcast networks would be chaired by Ambassador David Anaglatey, a former Ambassador to Togo and Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

About GJA
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) was established on 15th August 1949 at a time when politics in the then former British colony of the Gold Coast was at its peak and the minds of many media practitioners and ordinary citizens were filled with events of the ‘nationalist’ struggle. It is significant to note that a number of the “nationalist leaders” were journalists who employed the power of the pen to propagate their ideas and vision of independence for the then Gold Coast.

They included Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. J.B. Danquah. At the time of its formation, it was called Africa Press Association and was set up to provide the indigenous media practitioner with an alternative to the colonial press. One of its first actions in support of anti-colonialism was to organise a boycott of the so-called “white press” for a brief period. However, political differences among members of the Association grew and soon took its toll on the unity and solidarity of members.

This resulted in a lull in its activities between 1950 and 1954. There was a major attempt by some members to wake the association up from its slumber and to form an association made up solely of journalists.

The crusade was led by the late T.B. Ottie, Ben Dorkenoo and other local veteran journalists. They were supported by Sam Morris, a West Indian stringer. However, unity was difficult to achieve immediately as a result of political differences. The media climate became a bit more conducive for the association’s rejuvenation just after Ghana’s independence in 1957.

It was at a time when the CPP which eventually won the general elections had both broadened and consolidated its media policy. The Ghana News Agency, the School of Journalism - now the Ghana Institute of Journalism - and the Guinea Press (which later became the New Times Corporation) were established.

In 1959, the Ghana Press Club was established with Messrs Martin Therson-Cofie as President, Eric Adjorlolo as Treasurer and G.A. Hassen as Financial Secretary. Mr. Therson-Cofie was re-elected in 1960 with the late Cecil Forde as his deputy. Mr. Henry Ofori (Carl Mutt) as Secretary, Eric Adjorlolo as Treasurer, Carl Reindorf, Organising Secretary and Regina Addae, Executive Member. The Ghana Press Club survived until the First Republic in 1960.

In that same year, its name was changed to the Association of Ghanaian Journalists and Writers. The Trade Union Congress made many unsuccessful attempts to absorb it into the Association of Printers and Newspapers Workers of the TUC.

In 1962, the new association became affiliated to the now-defunct Prague-based International Organisation of Journalists. The GJA is currently a member of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), West African Journalists Association, and the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) the world’s biggest journalists’ union federation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries.