Sorry Journos, ‘No Soli for you’- UK High Commissioner

The UK High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin, has today pinned back the ears of Ghanaian journalists who insist on collecting ‘soli’ before reporting on events.

Speaking at the 10 th Anniversary celebration of IMANI Ghana, the commissioner took a moment to congratulate Ghanaian media for their impressive and improving record, and commitment to uncovering alleged corruption and wrongdoing.

However, he questioned the integrity of journalists who insist on receiving payment in the form of the infamous ‘soli’ before covering or publishing stories.

‘Soli’  (short for solidarity) is the practice in which journalists, who cover programs and events are given money, apparently to “cover the cost of travel to the event”. 

H.E. Benjamin suggested that covering news is the job of a journalist and that if salaries are insufficient, that should be a problem for the journalists and their employers and not for the general public.

Decrying the duplicity of Ghanaian journalists,he accused them of being quick to point out the corruption being perpetrated by public or private individuals and institutions but failing to look within themselves.

“If those journalists who pride themselves on reporting corruption in others, then ask for unofficial payment for themselves, isn’t that a touch hypocritical?”

He insisted that an event or story is either intrinsically newsworthy or isn’t and that once someone pays for it, it is advertising and not journalism.

He challenged the media to “surprise” him by reporting his comments on the lack of probity by some of their own journalistic colleagues.

“At the very least”, he stated emphatically, “you know, now that you will never receive any ‘soli’ from the British High Commission”. 

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