The newly created Port Journalists Network (PJN) is to collaborate with stakeholders in the port and maritime industry to project the sector to derive the full benefits of housing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) secretariat.
The group made up of seasoned reporters who have been reporting for years on maritime and port related issues therefore paid working familiarization visits to the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA), and the Custom Brokers Association of Ghana (CUBAG).
Mr Elvis Darko, Team Lead of the PJN introducing the group to the stakeholders said for Ghana to fully derive the benefits of the AfCTA, it must ensure that its maritime sector was functioning properly as the Free Trade Area’s backbone was port and maritime.
Mr Darko said for the sector to improve, there was the need for understanding of the issues and the collaboration between stakeholders to address them in other to attract more trade into Ghana.
He said to serve the industry better, the journalists recognized that was not enough to report about the sector for their respective media houses, but the need to unite and play an advocacy role.
He said the PJN would be able to do a bi-annual report on pressing issues in the port and maritime sectors and presenting it to the relevant institutions with subsequent follow-ups to ensure that the issues received attention.
He said another aim of the group was to build the capacity of the reporters on the technicalities of the industry stressing that it was embarrassing to report on issues only for experts to punch holes.
He said, “It is not deliberate for journalists to publish something wrong; it happens because most don’t have in-depth knowledge on the industry and therefore turn to use literal translations to report on technical things.”
Mrs Esther Gyebi-Donkor, General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, GPHA, receiving the group commended the journalists for coming together to seek the interest of the industry and her outfit was ready to collaborate with the PJN.
She received the journalists together with Ms Serwaa Abena Opoku-Fosu, Marketing and Public Affairs Manager at the Tema Port, and Ms Flavia Amoasi, a Marketing and PR Officer.
She observed that the aim of the group, to bring change and improvement into the industry through their reportage and focus on the sector was a welcoming thing which would benefit all stakeholders.
She said capacity was important in reporting from such a technical sector as getting it wrong meant misinforming the public, giving the assurance that her outfit would do its best to start some sensitization programmes for the media before the year ends.
Mr Fred Dua Ofori Atta, National President of CUBAG, on his part also lauded the Network for their reportage and aim to project the industry and encouraged members not to hesitate to seek clarification on issues from stakeholders on issues concerning the sector.
Mr Ofori Atta said there were many pressing issues affecting CUBAG members and importers and exporters which they would be elaborating to the group to help.