“Take Capacity Building Training Seriously” – ACILA tells Journalists

By Godfred A. Polkuu/Anthony Apubeo/Patricia
A. Yelmaan, GNA

Tamale, Oct. 25, GNA – Mr William Nyarko,
Executive Director of the Africa Centre for International Law and
Accountability (ACILA) has called on journalists in the Northern, Upper East
and Upper West Regions to take capacity building training seriously to upgrade
their knowledge.

He said capacity building would create a niche
for quality reporting, and told the journalists that such training broadened
their horizon to enable them face challenges posed by current happenings in the
world, adding that “whatever you put out, you never know who is reading.”

He described journalists as “generalists,” who
are versatile in diverse areas without specific capacities, and emphasised that
they could not afford to be knowledge deficient. “We have to continuously
upgrade our skills, gather knowledge to enhance our capacity,” he said.

Mr Nyarko, who is a journalist, said
journalists needed to know a bit of everything to enable them to fish out
information from experts whom they interviewed on daily bases to feed members
of the public.

The Director gave the advice at a two-day
training workshop in Tamale organised by ACILA for some selected mid-career
journalists from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, and said
capacity building trainings would enable journalists to generate more stories.
“You will be able to know who to contact for an issue that you are

Giving a brief background of ACILA, Mr Nyarko
said it was a young research and public education organisation, incorporated
under United States law, and received its designation as 501 (c) (3), and
indicated that ACILA was incorporated under Ghana law as a company limited by
guarantee, and granted a Non-Governmental Organisation status.

He said his outfit’s focus areas were on
international human rights law, international justice, public international
law, anti-corruption, rule of law and monitoring African states’ compliance
with international commitments and obligations, “one of the issues we are
currently working on is stamping for Yahya Jammeh to be brought to trial in
Ghana for the killing of approximately 44 Ghanaians in the Gambia in 2005.”   

Mr Nyarko said journalists played important
roles as they held governments accountable to the promotion and protection of
human rights, exposed corruption and protected the public purse.

Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, Deputy Minister of
Information said the Ministry of Information would establish lasting
partnership with ACILA to ensure that more training and capacity building
workshops were rolled out to equip journalists.

He said Ghana as a country had underestimated
the importance of journalists, and described the work of journalists as
“crucial,” adding that the Ministry of Information regarded journalists as
partners in development, and the vessel the Ministry use to disseminate
government policies and programmes to citizens.

Mr Hadzide said training for journalists on
human rights issues were critical, and urged them to further get training for
their personal security “because as watchers of everybody including those in
government, and those outside of government, there are people who may not be
too comfortable with what you say.”

“I entreat you to be careful the way you do
your job, do it fearlessly without favour, but also safeguard your own
interest,” he said.

The Deputy Minister expressed optimism that
the Akuffo-Addo led government would ensure that the Right to Information Bill
would be passed into law because the Bill was important to journalists, and its
passage would aid journalists and the citizens to easily source  information.


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