The Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has launched its maiden awards. The awards, which are opened to all journalists including non-GJA members, is scheduled for May this year in Kumasi.
The categories are the overall best journalist, special awards for five media establishments in the region, news reporting and feature writing (print and electronic media), investigative reporting (print and electronic), crime and court reporting and photo journalism.
The others are human rights, HIV and AIDS, agriculture, small and medium-scale enterprises, science and technology, anti-corruption, education, tourism and culture, sports reporting, and rural reporting.
The rest are environmental sanitation and hygiene, oil and gas and mining and awards for some selected media personalities who have distinguished themselves in the region.
Entries cover works published or broadcast from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018.
The deadline for submission of entries is 5p.m. February 28, 2019.
According to the Regional GJA Secretary, Mr Kingsley Hope, none GJA members would be disallowed from taking part in the subsequent awards.
He, therefore, urged journalists, who are not members of the association but are desirous of participating in the awards, to register with the GJA.
A-five-member committee has been set up to vet entries for the awards. They comprise the Ashanti Regional Manager of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mrs Elizabeth Kankam Boadu; the Ashanti Regional Editor of the Chronicle, Mr Sebastian Freku and News Editor of Multimedia Kumasi, Mr Saaed Ali Yakub.
The rest are Northern sector Bureau Chief of Media General (TV3), Mr Kofi Adu Domfeh and the Managing Editor of the Pioneer, Mr Johnson Gyampo.
The Bantamahene, Baffour Asare Owusu Amankwatia VI, who launched the awards last Friday in Kumasi, commended the Ashanti Regional branch of the association for its initiative to recognise journalists for their hard work and pledged his support to make the event a success.
He called for an end to the threats and physical assault on journalists, adding that attacks on journalists could deny the citizenry their right to information.
The Bantamahene said the 1992 Constitution gave recognition to the media and, therefore, journalists must be given the needed protection to operate efficiently without fear or intimidation.
Baffour Amankwatia called on the government to create the enabling environment to aid journalism practice in the country.
Although he admitted the role successive governments had played in advancing journalism practice, he said there was the need for government to up its game.
Baffour Amankwatia charged owners of media houses to also provide journalists with the requisite tools to help improve their work output, and also build their capacity to enable them to discharge their duties more efficiently.
Present at the event were the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei Mensah, and the Metropolitan Chief Executive of Kumasi, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi.