Mr Owusu said the current trend where some media houses and bloggers ‘steal’ and use the Agency’s news stories without paying the appropriate subscription fees or even crediting the Agency for use of its news stories was worrying and unacceptable.
He disclosed this during a working visit to the Tema Regional Office of the GNA to interact with staff and discuss pertinent issues for the development of the Agency in general and the Tema Office in particular.
He said it was illegal to use news stories without giving due credit to the original source adding that just like Reuters, BBC and other international media organizations, the Agency was considering taking legal actions against such persons should the need arise.
The GNA GM also noted that management had initiated a process of engaging all its subscribers to create a common platform to enable legitimate subscribers to access the stories as a step to check and control illegal users.
Other measures being considered include; embedding a code into the stories as a form of the news story tracking mechanism; “If they are using the stories for their personal consumption, that is okay, but commercializing it without subscription and crediting is illegal”.
Answering questions on the current state of the Agency, he said GNA remained active and relevant as it was still the only wire station of the nation explaining that even though the fortunes of the Agency kept fluctuating after the administration of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, its founder, its relevance was not debatable.
“Competition in the media has made it look like GNA is behind, but that’s not true, GNA is always active covering the country even though our biggest challenge is funding,” he said.
He also disclosed that the Agency want to serve its subscribers better by providing them with both text, audio and video files to meet all their news needs as GNA was going multimedia.
Mr Owusu gave the assurance that government had recognized the importance of the Agency and was looking at how to position it well and strengthening it through the Ministry of Information.
He said management was working on collaborating with relevant organizations to project targeted news including energy, business, agriculture, tourism, digital and others adding that the management was getting the institutions in those sectors to support the Agency in that aspect.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, the GNA Tema Regional Manager thanked the GM for the visit and commended the Tema office team for supporting him in the discharge of his duties.
He said such visits encouraged staff to give off their best knowing that management had not neglected them and was monitoring their progress and work in the regions.
Mr Ameyibor also highlighted some of the projects being undertaken by the Tema Regional Office of the Ghana News Agency which included; “End of Month Stakeholder Engagement and Workers Appreciation Day,” seminar which is a platform rolled-out for state and non-state actors to address national issues.
He explained that the event also serves as motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters towards national development in general and growth and promotion of the Tema GNA as the industrial news hub.
Mr Ameyibor said the Agency was strategically placed as a credible news organisation which required it to deepen its relationship with its stakeholders for mutually beneficial partnership to advance the prospects of the agency and the country as whole.
The staff during the interactions asked questions on digitalization, logistics, and general office and professional issues.