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Journalists Justify ‘Soli’   
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Some call it transportation fee, others call it facilitation fee, while the larger majority who know of it, especially those in the media fraternity, call it solidarity, or simply ‘Soli’. he issue of event organisers occasionally giving journalists’ money after covering programmes, became a topic for discussion during the launch of the Global Corruption Report (GCR) at the British Council Hall in Accra on Wednesday.

The event, which was organised by the local chapter of Transparency International (TI), Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), sparked deep-seated emotions from both sides of the divide.

This was after a man who identified himself as an anti-corruption supporter, Justice Frimpong, asked the question as to whether the act of giving journalists money after events did not amount to corruption, since according to him it had the tendency of influencing the way and manner in which journalists write stories.

This sparked a heated debate, which compelled some journalists around to respond to the issue raised. hile some agreed that giving or taking ‘soli’, as they prefer to call it, was not the best of practices, others sought to justify the act, with the belief that it was an act of showing appreciation to journalists for their time spent, and participation in any given programme.

Much as some agreed that taking ‘soli’ makes it susceptible for journalists’ to compromise their conscience, which tends to influence them in the discharge of their constitutionally mandated duty, they juxtaposed that with the existing and prevailing poor conditions under which they work.

Many of them spoke about the appalling conditions of service at the various media houses, stressing that this and others compelled most journalists to compromise their conscience for monetary benefits, since ‘man must survive’. his justification obviously did not go down well with Dr. Audrey Gadzekpo, Acting Director and Senior Lecturer at the School of Communication Studies of the University of Ghana, Legon, who happens to be a Board Member of GII, who vehemently spoke out against the act.

Much as she appreciates the poor and appalling conditions under which most Ghanaian journalists’ live and work, she emphasised that it should not be a justification for either demanding or taking ‘soli’, since the ethics of the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) profession frowns on such practices.

Source: The Chronicle

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