Coronavirus: Journalists are also frontline workers – Sulemana Braimah

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The issue of who is a frontline worker has dominated the public sphere especially when the Government of Ghana announced some measures laid down for frontline health workers taking care of patients who have been tested positive for the novel Coronavirus.

The role of journalists in the fight against Coronavirus cannot be left out since in the line of their professional duty, they may come into contact with such Coronavirus patients.

For this reason, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has suggested that journalists are also included in the “frontline workers” description.

Dr Sulemana Braimah told Joy News that the work of a journalist is very essential since they, the journalists, are to report to the masses constantly about the progress the country is making in combating the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus.

“Certainly, given the work that we have to do, whether it is the President, whether it is the Ministers…that have to address the people, they still will rely on the media to ensure that information gets out there,” Braimah said.

“And what that means is that constantly, we are at the forefront of making sure that whatever messages that the authorities want to communicate, whatever messages that the people will want to hear, we are there to present it to them and that certainly makes us frontline workers,” he explained.

Dr Braimah noted there must be a deeper conversation about why journalists must be included in a bigger “frontline workers” definition so they can enjoy support and relief packages similar to those offered to health professionals.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his fifth televised broadcast to the nation announced that an insurance package, with an assured sum of GH¢350,000 for each health worker and allied professional at the forefront of the Coronavirus fight, has been put in place, with a daily allowance of GH¢150 being paid to contact tracers.

He added that, the Government of Ghana has also decided that all health workers will not pay taxes on their emoluments for the next three months [April, May and June].

All frontline health workers, Akufo-Addo indicated “will receive an additional allowance of 50% of their basic salary per month [March, April, May and June]. The March allowance will be paid alongside that of April.”

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