The 19th Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) Awards competition was on Friday Launched with a call on journalists to place development at the centre of their reportage.
“The GJA believes that whether in the area of politics, economy, business, agriculture, health, energy, environment, science or sports, pursuing a development agenda is the best way forward for the Ghanaian media”, GJA president Affail Monney said at the launch.
The theme for the event is “Using Development communication to discern and defend the national interest”
He said it was the belief of the association that through development journalism the media stood a better chance of not only informing and educating the citizenry but monitoring national programmes and projects and providing the relevant platform for debate and consensus building.
The GJA awards should be seen as part of the overall effort by the association at promoting high journalistic standards and as a barometer for measuring periodically the performance of the Ghanaian media and journalist in particular.
Mr Monney said organising such events was a difficult one because it came with a tradition of falling on friends of the media, corporate Ghana, governmental, intergovernmental organisation among others, to contribute towards it,
He said, though there was nothing wrong with the partnership, the GJA however, aims at a well developed and self sufficient association to handle the organisation of its awards ceremony without hustle.
He allayed the fears of critics that the GJA would compromise their critical instincts because of the support it receives saying “ those arguments does not hold water because the media houses and the award winners do not directly go about soliciting for support and therefore not obliged to compromise their critical role for the sake of winning awards.
“The GJA, as an umbrella, harnesses public goodwill and support towards media development from its partners and friends. All proponents and stakeholders of a qualitative media have a legitimate right to contribute to raising journalistic standards by contributing to the awards…… especially when it promotes a sense of shared responsibility and the idea that we all hold a stake in the development of media”.
The GJA president announced that there have been new developments in the category of awards, and that, the most promising Journalist of the Year award has been named after Komla Dumour of blessed memory and three others on Local Governance and decentralisation, Best talk show and Forestry.
The sports award has been split into two, one for print and the other for electronic, including commentary, in addition to 49 awards to be won in the competitive categories.
The public have been requested to participate in the selection by proposing nominees for the Professor P.A.V Ansah journalist of the Year, the promising Journalist and the Best Talk Show.
Those who nominate, are requested to make a proposal in not more than 24 words stating reason for their nomination covering 2013 and be mindful that nominees should be members of GJA.
Mr Eric Pawdura, Corporate Affairs Director of the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) said the GNPC would come on board to support programmes that promote national interest as well as reward journalist who have excelled in their fields of work.
The GNPC would strategically engage the media for accurate reportage on the work of the organisation, he added.