In Ghana, the electoral commission is now requiring journalists to pay a fee to be accredited to cover the presidential and parliamentary elections next month. Journalists are rejecting the requirement, which they say will reduce election transparency. The electoral commission has not said how much the accreditation fee will be, but according to the statement released Monday, the fee will cover the printing and lamination of accreditation badges. Journalists have until next Monday to apply and make payment. Kojo Yankson is a journalist at Joy FM radio. “Let the media houses provide identification for their journalists and let the journalists go to work.”
Yankson says small local outlets will be hit the hardest. “If they belong to a radio station that is not making a profit, that is not making enough money to pay for the correct number of their staff to participate in this exercise, then of course the loser is democracy, the loser is transparency, the loser are the people on whose behalf these journalists work. So yes, I definitely see that this will have a direct effect on the transparency of these elections. Hopefully not so much an effect that it will cause problems, but it will definitely put at a disadvantage large sections of the public,” said Yankson.
It’s an unusual practice in Ghana for journalists to pay money to report especially on a national exercise, although in September last year journalists in the Ashanti and Western regions paid 8 cedis, or about $2, before being allowed inside voting centers during district assembly elections.
Full Article: Ghana Journalists Reject Fee to Cover Elections.