The election of new executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), has paved the way for the return of the annual GJA Awards which celebrate journalists who apply for honour and prizes instituted by the Association.
This was after the event was suspended for a year following disagreement on the elections of national executives.
This year’s event, slated for November 12, 2022, would award journalists in 36 categories, including a new area on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which seeks to place premium on trade.
Speaking at the launch, the 26th edition, in Accra, on Wednesday, Mr Albert Dwumfour, President of the GJA, noted that the Awards was a very important event on the calendar of the Association as it offered an opportunity to honour deserving journalists.
“I would like to state that we were unable to organise last year’s awards due to circumstances beyond our control. However, we started preparations very early this year, so we do not miss out this time around,” he said.
He said one significant thing about this year’s Awards was the fact the GJA Journalist of the Year would be very competitive as the winner would be selected based on competitive entries, saying this departed from the practice whereby the Awards Committee selected a winner in consultation with the National Executive.
He assured transparency in the selection process to ensure that only deserving journalists were honoured.
“We, therefore, urge all journalists who believe their works meet the criteria set out by the Awards Committee to file their entries.” Mr Dwumfour said.
The theme for this year’s Awards is: “Walking The Path Towards Economic Recovery: The Role Of The Media.”
Mr Dwumfour also urged journalists to ensure fiscal discipline of government and state institutions to achieve fiscal stability.
Mr Kofi Yeboah, General Secretary of the GJA, said the decision to slash the awards category 36 from the previous 50s, was to give the Awards Committee opportunity to thoroughly scrutinise all stories filed.
He also disclosed that entries for this year’s awards would be done online, adding that only entries of members of the Association in good standing would be considered.
Some of the categories include sports, education, disability, road safety, investigative journalist, environment and science, health, the GJA Komla Dumor Most Promising Young Journalist and the flagship P. A. Ansah Best Journalist of the Year.
On the P. A. Ansah best journalist of the year award, Mr Yeboah said, unlike the pervious practice, this year’s winner be selected from among entries.
Mr Palgrave Boakye Danquah, Government’s Spokesperson on Governance and Security, said journalists played crucial role in the advancement of the development agenda of every nation, adding that press freedom permitted democracies worldwide to function.
He spoke on behalf of Mr Kojo Oppong Nkumah, the Minister of Information.
Mr Danquah urged journalists to therefore, fight what he described as “new normal” where people use media channels to propagate bigotry, intemperate language, insults, hoaxes, vilification, and other vices.
He encouraged journalists to continue to contribute their quota towards the development of the country
“Certainly, many people have put in a lot of effort, whether they were nominated or not, and whether they end up winning the honors.
“Keep in mind that the awards are only one method that people and groups may contribute to the advancement of strong journalistic standards,” he said.
Mr Ransford Tetteh, former President of the GJA, who launched the awards, urged journalists to ensure that filed stories met expectations as the Awards Committee would be thorough in its work to ensure that the only deserving stories were recognised.