The National Media Commission (NMC ) says the media should be considered as an essential service provider and must be assisted to offer the needed education and sensitization in the fight against Covid-19.
In a radio interview, the Chairman of the NMC, Mr. Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh explained that the work of the media is critical, in view of this there is the need for the private sector to come in and support the media if government is focusing on health workers who are the main frontline workforce.
''The media must be considered as part of essential service providers in the scheme of things so that in the distribution of safety gadgets the media must be considered. Now we must also look for private sector support. There is a lot of private sector support to the Covid fund and part of that could be channeled to the media. Few of us who go to the frontline including health facilities it is fair that we are given some provision that will cater for our needs''.
Mr. Boadu-Ayeboafoh, however, asked the media to go about their duties and desist from demanding compensation before undertaking their duties
''In many jurisdictions, the media is private sector-led and therefore we want to discharge our responsibilities with freedom and independence and so when we demand of government certain things, that is not good enough. However, because we are a state-owned media and however we are dependent on the state for all the resources that we receive in the discharge of our obligation. I will not say that we should demand to be compensated for the discharge of the duties. If the public appreciates what we are doing and including the government and they make an offer to us at least that will be supportive of what we are doing but we should not make that as a precondition for the discharge of our duties.’’
The NMC Chairman also advised the media to be cautious in their coverage of the pandemic to avoid fear and panic in the country
''We must see this as part of our responsibility. We are facing a disease that is threatening and this is the time we have to demonstrate that the media are a vocal part of the struggle for the nation hold and therefore we will have to discharge our responsibilities and we should do so with responsiveness, care, and conscience. This is not the time for the media to play havoc, this is the time we havoc to be careful on the kind of information we put out so that we do not create fear and panic''.
Meanwhile, the President in a nationwide broadcast yesterday April 5 2020 stated that an insurance package, with an assured sum of three hundred and fifty thousand cedis (GH¢350,000) has been put in place for each health personnel and allied professional at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus(COVID-19).
Akufo-Addo added government has also decided that all health workers will not pay taxes on their emoluments for the next three months, i.e. April, May, and June.
He also made it known that all contact tracers were being paid an allowance of one hundred and fifty cedis (GH¢150) daily.