Jamila Akweley Okertchire (middle) with her siblings at the award
The Ghana Journalists Association’s (GJA’s) annual awards ceremony, that seeks to recognize journalists for their outstanding works over the years, was held last Saturday with 38 journalists from both state-owned and private media houses being honoured.
The award ceremony did not go without controversy as there were speculations that the ultimate prize of PAV Ansah Journalist of the Year award was diverted.
For most part of the ceremony, the audience had tipped the young man from TV Africa, Kwetey Nartey, who had already swept four awards in the night, to be the Journalist of the Year.
Kwetey had picked Investigative Journalist of the Year, Disability Reporting for Television, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu Award for Business Reporting and HIV/AIDS Reporting.
After taking his fourth award, it was certain who the Journalist of the Year was going to be as his friends geared up for the overall coveted award; but that was short-lived as Mabel Aku Baneseh of Daily Graphic was rather named the Journalist of the Year in a shocking announcement.
Her story on the landmark Supreme Court hearing was adjudged by the awards committee in a citation as one that united the country.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that TV Africa’s Kwetey Nartey was actually selected as the Journalist of the Year by the awards committee chaired by Roberta Gardiner, having garnered four awards more than any of the award winners.
However, on the day of the event, the GJA executive reviewed the decision of the committee without reference to the members, except two who suggested Mabel as the eventual winner.
This has raised issues among the committee members who are not ready to come out publicly.
When DAILY GUIDE inquired from the GJA President, Affail Monney, on the night of the award what happened, he conceded that there was a mistake somewhere.
Asked whether it was going to be rectified, he was quiet.
Some aggrieved journalists also confronted the GJA President over what they described as ‘miscarriage of justice,’ wondering why Kwetey was sidestepped for Mabel.
The young reporter was also ignored for another Graphic reporter who picked two awards for the Most Promising Young Reporter, giving him a double whammy.
When a member of the awards committee, Francis Kokutse, was reached last night, he said the committee did its job and submitted its report.
Asked if Mabel Aku Baneseh was the choice of the committee as the Journalist of the Year, Mr. Kokutse was largely evasive, saying that the committee did its work and submitted its report.
According to DAILY GUIDE source, at a point the committee members were divided on who should be given the coveted award but finally settled on Kwetey when some argued that having picked four awards more than any award winner, he should be the one; and that was the decision until it was switched Saturday morning a few hours to the presentation.
However, when reached yesterday, Mr. Monney said the ultimate award does not necessarily go to the highest award winner.
Explaining the criterion for the choice of the Journalist of the Year, the GJA President said the committee did not do anything untoward but followed the laid-down proceeding for selection.
He said the individual, according to the criteria, should have a track record and that the body of work over the years should be satisfactory.
‘Mable sold out during the Supreme Court proceeding and she proved professional with her objective, fair, balanced story which had a great impact on society,’ he said.
DAILY GUIDE’s Jamila Akweley Okertchiri took the award for Disability (Print category).
The 19 th awards ceremony themed, ‘Using development journalism to discern and defend national interest,’ saw Mabel Aku Baneseh of Graphic Communications Group Limited emerging the Journalist of the Year, 2014.
Ms. Baneseh had received two awards in Court and Political Reporting.
She becomes the fourth female to receive the award after Ms. Elizabeth Ohene, Ms. Adjoa Yeboah Afari and Ms. Peggy Ama Donkor.
Other awardees included Kofi Yeboah for best report in Education and Water; Moses Dotse Aklobortu for Medium and Small Scale Enterprises; Seth Bokpe for Rural reporting and Samuel Tei-Adano for photojournalism.
Dzifa Emma Tetteh and John Vigah, both of Ghanaian Times won awards for print news reporting and sports respectively.
Maxwell Adombila Akalaare of Graphic Business took home the renamed Komla Dumor Most Promising Young Journalist of the Year, Oil and Gas and features and Rebecca Kwei of The Mirror emerged winner of the Millennium Development Goals category.
Rachel Quartey (GBC), Agricultural Reporting; Mark Sasu for Science; Manasseh Awuni Azure also took the award for Anti-corruption while Gifty Appiah and Edem Srem of Multimedia had the joint award for Sanitation.
TV3’s Nakour Kwablah and Lord Asante Fordjuor took awards for Best Television features. Each of the awardees was presented with a certificate and a plague.
A DAILY GUIDE Report
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