General News of Saturday, 6 December 2014
A former chairman of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Albert Kan Dapaah has jumped into the debate over ‘soli’ for journalists and has defended journalists for collecting monies from event organizers.
‘Soli’ is a term used to describe monies paid by event organizers to journalists after covering events.
There have been varying opinions on the matter in the past few weeks with some media professionals describing it as unethical.
The widespread condemnation of the act deepened when the UK High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin condemned journalists who take “soli” and described their actions as “hypocritical.”
He also warned that taking ‘soli’ from event organizers compromises the credibility and integrity of media practitioners and influences stories produced from such events.
But speaking at an event organized by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition in Accra, Kan Dapaah, who is also the Consulting Director of the Centre for Public Accountability at the University of Professional Studies said, media house owners should rather resource journalists in order to curb the phenomenon.
He pointed out that most journalists are forced to compromise their integrity by accepting and sometimes demanding ‘soli’ because they are poorly paid or in some cases, not paid at all.
“You are talking about soli when I don’t get paid… So why shouldn’t I take the soli?” he queried.
“Most people working in the media today, they don’t get paid,” he stressed adding that “they say go out and get stories so when you go there hoping that you will get ‘soli’ but we all know what soli does to the credibility of the media.”
Kan Dapaah was certain that the only way to fight the phenomenon “is to make sure that soli doesn’t become necessary. Who in England, what journalist in America will go for soli?”
He warned that the issue must not be addressed lightly saying, “don’t let us play with it. Let us recognize that there are only two institutions that can check corruption and let us invest in these institutions.”
In an earlier interview with Citi News, the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) cautioned Ghanaians not to confuse ‘soli’ with bribery.