As part of efforts to contribute to a sound retirement of journalists, the Western Region branch of the Ghana Journalists Association has instituted the – PEN – scheme.
Under the scheme, journalists are required to make contributions, which often, are voluntary, to a retiring journalist in the Western Region.
Western Region Chairman of GJA Desmond Cudjoe explained the rationale behind the scheme is a unique way of bidding farewell to colleagues who will “no more join us to programmes.”
“It started as a loose way of trying to contribute to a colleague who was retiring on the biggest Whatsapp platform for journalists in the region called the Western Pen. But after several deliberations, there was a consensus from members on the platform to institutionalise it.”
“One of our members Peter Gbambila of the Ghanaian Times just went on retirement. We called for voluntary contributions under the PEN scheme and there was a resounding response.”
For Emmanuel Ohene Gyan, formerly of Empire FM and now a freelance journalist, “the PEN scheme is a commendable effort. All of us will retire one day and so we have to support it so that when it’s your turn, you will also benefit”.
In a short presentation to the first beneficiary, Administrator of the Scheme Juliet Aguir of B&FT applauded members for responding positively to the call for the contribution.
Receiving the undisclosed amount, Peter Gbambila of Ghanaian Times praised members for the gesture.
Peter Gbambila who practiced for more than 30 years advised young members to always double-check their facts before publishing their stories.
“In all my years of practice, I did so diligently. My hallmark was a fair, and balanced story. I never played with professional standards and ethics. And I will implore all journalists to be guided by these.”
Beyond the PEN scheme, Vice Chairman of the association Kwame Mensa of Radio 360 also announced that the regional leadership is in talks with some insurance companies for members to sign onto.
“At a point on the Western PEN, we had to contribute almost every two or three weeks for a member who either has lost one parent, has given birth, married or lost a spouse. It was becoming burdensome. And so we decided to speak to some insurance companies. After some education, members agreed to sign up. Currently, some members are already on one. Other members are also joining gradually. We believe it the best way to go, to avoid the unannounced and sometimes the uncomfortable call for contributions.”
“At least, with the one for a retiring colleague there has been a consensus to leave it a contribution from members. Maybe going forward we will put some innovation into it on how to fund it. One way will be to liaise with a company for some additional funds.”