A Senior Lecturer at the faculty of communications studies, Wisconsin International University College, Dr. Kweku Rockson, has spoken against the exploitation of young journalists under the guise of talent acquisition.
According to him, the long-standing organizational culture in some private media institutions in particular where young journalists are made to work for several months or in some cases years as interns without any contract or remuneration must stop.
“The workplace is a very important factor when it comes to social responsibility of the media. There is no excuse for you to just exploit any young person who has just come out of journalism school,” he noted.
Delivering the 4th Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) 70th anniversary lecture series in Accra on Tuesday, Dr. Rockson further noted that media houses were business entities and, therefore, must live up to their social responsibility of properly compensating their workers.
Dr. Rockson, who was a council member and a former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, spoke on the topic: “Aligning journalism practice with the social responsibility initiative: The role of media practitioners, media institutions and the Ghana Journalists Association.”
Dr. Rockson said the social responsibility situation under the workplace category in the media showed that there were challenges.
“Even with those who are paid, there is discrimination between those considered average professionals who are put on a standard scale in terms of remuneration and those with perceived large market appeal who are given special contract with very high compensation packages. This industrial relation practice shows the extent to which certain policies and practice do not meet the social responsibility standards for the workplace,” he indicated.
He said the media had, however, played a key role in social responsibility both as individuals and as entities on their own, citing major media campaigns like the Citi FM’s ‘War Against Indiscipline,’among other examples.
Dr. Rockson suggested to the GJA to consider introducing two new categories in the annual GJA journalism of the year competition.
“The association can consider the individual social responsibility media practitioner of the year and the corporate social responsibility media organization of the year. Besides, it can consider the establishment of a voluntary group – the association of socially responsible media organizations where members will sign up to a code of principles to show commitment to professionalism, high ethical conduct and social responsibility in the media practice,” he added.