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Jefferson Sackey on International Assignment
From: The Mirror          Published On: August 5, 2012, 17:53 GMT
 
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Jefferson Sackey on International Assignment

Jefferson Sackey and his family as profiled in the Mirror newspaper


As intense gun battles and heavy bombardment erupted in Misrata, 'bya in 2011, with Pro-Qathafi forces employing tanks and heavy artillery as they moved to suppress the resistance of rebel fighters, a Ghanaian reporter was at the frontline of the action, stealthily observing and reporting live for the international media.

Jefferson Sackey, the reporter, had Slipped into Misrata, just days after the late Colonel Muammar al-Qathafi's army besieged the city with heavy weaponry, and was on hand to witness the destruction of lives and property that followed as the battle raged.

Sackey's coverage of war wasn't peculiar to Libya. For close to six years, he globe-trotted over 150 countries, covering armed conflicts, political upheavals and natural disasters' in some of the world's most troubled regions.

The dark, handsome and slightly built' broadcaster of medium height, stands tall as one of the finest and most revered Ghanaian journalists around.

Born in the Central Region in the late 70s, Sackey had been extremely keen on radio and television even as a kid, with the 'Golden Child' programme on Radio Gold in the early 90s and the 'Teen Beat' on GTV in the mid¬90s serving as perfect platforms for his preliminary journalism training.

Fresh from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2003, Sackey secured an appointment at TV Africa as a news reporter.

But, as he told The Mirror, his defining moment came in June 2005 when he secured a scholarship to study at the DW Television Training Centre in Berlin, Germany, where he was trained in advanced television news presentation.

"It opened doors for me globally and boosted my credibility as a reliable journalist for many international news organisations including the Cable News Network (CNN) and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)," he said.

He returned with a concept to package Africa's conflicts, Africa's difficulties and make them available to the world, so that apt solutions could be proffered.

That concept quickly became Jefferson¬Sackey's International Assignment OS-IA), which ended up catapulting him into interna¬tional prominence. He did JS-IA for the following six months at TV Africa, criss-crossing Africa and reporting the continent's difficulties and inadequacies, until he secured a public service appointment.

The former Accra High Senior Secondary School boy is also a diplomat. That opportunity came in 2006, when he was approached to serve as a Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As PRO for a year, Sackey travelled with the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nana Akufo-Addo, now NPP flag-bearer, on diplomatic missions across the world, and sat in several diplomatic conferences including some United Nations Security Council Resolutions. Indeed, he sat in the UN Security Council meeting that passed resolution 1701, which aimed to resolve the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

"I faced a lot of restrictions at the ministry. I felt strongly about so many national and global issues but was unable to articulate my government," he said, adding: "I decided to re¬turn to mainstream journalism."

Having resigned, he set up 'Critical Television', a TV production house, before jetting out to Canada in 2008 to join his family - his wife, Elizabeth Jackson; and children, Jefferson Kwaku Sackey Jnr., five and Jelissa Sackey, three.

From Canada Sackey continued doing JS¬LA, which was telecast on CBC in Canada, TV Africa in Ghana, and five other TV stations across the world including RTV in Liberia and ABC in Sierra Leone for over three years.

From Canada Sackey continued doing JS¬LA, which was telecast on CBC in Canada, TV Africa in Ghana, and five other TV stations across the world including RTV in Liberia and ABC in Sierra Leone for over three years.

The ace broadcaster, who is the West Africa correspondent for DW-TVand a free¬lancer for CNN, is now back home with Joy FM, where, as a Senior International Correspondent, he is involved in news gathering, supervision and production.

Asked why he is doing radio instead of television on his return, Sackey said: "I was scheduled to be back in West Africa by Deutsche Welle Television (DWTV) and I needed to re-align myself with a network. Joy had been contacting me when I was outside the country, so it was a perfect opportunity to join them in October 2011."

Sackey, a former pupil of Riss Memorial School, Dansoman-Accra, says he does not regret doing journalism, as the profession has taken him to several places in the world and has facilitated his meeting with great leaders including former South African President Nelson Mandela; former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; and Liberian President Ellen John¬son Sirleaf.

He has also won a couple of honours including one by Journalists for Human Rights in June 2010.

His only difficulty with his profession has been his inability to be with his family most of the time. "Due to the nature of the job, I'm always away from home, sometimes for two, three months. But I thank God for my wife. She's been very hardworking and supportive. Often, she plays the role of mum and dad to our children," he said.

A big fan of football, Sackey supports the Blacks Stars, which he describes as "a heart¬breaking team", saying, "at a time that you ex¬pect them to win, they give you heart attack ¬like we saw against Zambia".

He however, adores midfielder Andre Ayew, describing him as "my favourite Black Stars player of all time”.

The Senya Beraku man, who speaks Twi, Fante, Ga a little German and French, is also a huge fan of Barcelona FC.

Sackey loves to watch real life documentaries over his favourite meal of fufu with light soup. He also writes and spends time on facebook and twitter during his free time.

His career is inspired by Anderson Cooper, a major news anchor on CNN,who he says "denotes the new dimension of journalism and has always been my role model".

Sackey, a member of the Light House Chapel International, acknowledges that God has been instrumental in the rise of his profession.

To the many people aspiring to be like him, he said "Be humble in learning and focus on bringing change to the profession and your society. But remember God first".


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