A GH¢ 20-million insurance package has been set up for 500 members of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) who will be accredited to cover the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
The group personal accident cover, the first of its kind in the country, is being provided by SIC Insurance Company Limited, to cushion journalists in case of injury, disability, and death in the line of duty.
The package is effective from November 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021, and up to GH¢40, 000 would be given to the family of an accredited journalist in the event of death while GH¢300 would be paid per month, for up to 12 months, if the journalist suffers a permanent disability.
The SIC General Manager – Operations, Faris Attrickie, and the GJA President, Roland Affail Monney, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Accra, on behalf of their respective organisations.
According to Mr Attrickie, the package was the company’s support to the media fraternity in undertaking the national assignment, which is deemed as high-risk as it may involve accidents that can result in injury, death and damage of equipment.
“Our plans is that while we may not be able to prevent [accidents or attacks during the election], we can prepare because the journalist may have a child or other dependants,” he said.
Describing journalists as an important centre piece and bearers of truth in democracy, Mr Attrickie said it was unfortunate that media practitioners were often the target of people who wanted to destroy democracy.
Shedding light on the package, he said the GJA would make claims on behalf of the affected journalists and payments would be made promptly after all documentations had become intact.
He said the package covered only 500 members of the association and did not extend to freelance journalists or volunteers who would be engaged by media houses to cover the elections on their behalf.
Mr Attrickie explained that the package was capped at 500 beneficiaries because the company was optimistic that even if harm would befall journalists, it would not be in high numbers.
He announced that the company would soon underwrite a comprehensive package to cater for destruction of equipment, including phones and cameras, and urged other corporate entities to support journalists in similar ways.
For his part, Mr Monney thanked SIC for the package, saying “it would motivate journalists to work harder towards the maintenance of the democratic gains over the last 28 years.”
He advised journalists to heighten their sense of security when covering political events although the GJA, through its Legal Committee, would take on anyone who would assault a journalist during the elections.
“We are going to maintain an obsessive focus on the safety and welfare of journalists. This means that if a single journalist is attacked in the line of duty, we will rally forcefully and furiously to the defence of such a journalist because an attack against one journalist is an attack against all journalists,” he said.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR