Dr Onsy Nathan Kwame Nkrumah, a leading member of the Convention Peoples' Party (CPP), on Wednesday called on the government to immediately include the media in all COVID-19 stimulus packages.
"Journalists are currently playing critical role in the information dissemination as COVID-19 communicators. In war times and crises communicators and journalists serve as frontline players and must be provided with incentives and personal protective equipment," Dr Nkrumah told the Ghana News Agency in a telephone interview.
"The Government must, therefore, correct the abnormally, capture the journalists in all stimulus packages. Whatever the doctors and nurses are enjoying journalists must also be considered, as by the nature of journalistic work, they are daily exposed to all the hazards."
Government recently announced an insurance package of GH¢350,000 for each health personnel and allied professionals at the forefront of the COVID-19 fight, with a daily allowance of GH¢150 being paid to contact tracers.
Government has also decided that all health workers will not pay taxes on their emoluments for the next three months; April, May and June.
Furthermore, all frontline health workers will receive an additional allowance of 50 per cent of their basic salary per month, from March, April, May and June. The March allowance will be paid alongside that of April.
Dr Nkrumah noted that those packages were good but very discriminatory in nature, stressing that the issues of COVID-19 had brought to the fore a category of "Frontline Workers" and not only 'Frontline Health Workers".
He said the COVID-19 Frontline Workers must be properly defined to capture all other staff who are not necessarily in the health and allied fields but who are playing critical roles.
Even though COVID-19 was basically a health issues, it had gone beyond health, therefore frontline workers must be classified in broader terms instead of the narrow path of health workers.
Dr Nkrumah, however, commended government, political parties and other actors in the country for the sense of purpose and unity to fight the COVID-19.
He commended the security operatives, especially the Operation COVID-19 Safety Team, for their resilience to enforce the lockdown, "which is a necessary evil. We either stay home for the period or we go out and perish".
Dr Nkrumah appealed to corporate bodies to support the effort of the media whilst encouraging journalists to work with high sense of responsibility and adhere to all the health protocols.
He called for a review of electricity bills and said government must absorb at least half of the consumption of vulnerable groups.