GJA Awards get better with 2 cars up for grabs

BY: Osei Ameyaw
Journalists and photographers from the Graphic Communications Group Limited who won GJA awards last year

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Awards event has got bigger and better. For the first time since 1991, the GJA Journalist of the Year will drive home a brand new or “tear rubber” vehicle – Hyundai SUV – as a prize.

That is not all; the winner of the Nii Kotei Dzani Award for the Best Finance Reporting will also drive home a brand new Hyundai saloon car as a reward.

The two vehicles, donated by Ideal Finance, a leading non-bank financial company in the country, are currently on display at the Ghana International Press Centre in Accra, ready to be driven away by deserving award winners at the 21st GJA Awards.

In 1991, Albert Sam of the Daily Graphic received a Lada saloon car sponsored by the Ministry of Information, as a prize for being adjudged the Journalist of the Year. Before, and since then, no winner of the coveted award has been so privileged.

But 25 years later, on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at the Banquet Hall, State House, in Accra, a different script of history, more grandeur than the Lada dignity in 1991, will be written, as two proud journalists drive home the two Hyundai vehicles on offer.

This feat must have been achieved through hard work by the National Executive of the GJA, and President Roland Affail Monney cannot be excited enough for delivering such positive change in the annals of the GJA Awards.

“Journalists work hard every year to promote national development but our reward has often been paltry. In some other awards, winners are given houses and vehicles; ours has not been so but we deserve far better.

“This is just the beginning. We’ll work hard to ensure that journalists are rewarded adequately for the work they do,” Mr Monney remarked.

Motivation of sponsor

Given the fact that presenting a vehicle as a prize for the GJA Journalist of the Year has happened only once since the inception of the Awards in 1971, equalling that feat no matter the type of vehicle offered, is very much appreciated. So the applause should be louder for a sponsor that goes beyond the record to offer two vehicles for one awards event.

It is very obvious that the sponsor of the two Hyundai vehicles has invested a great deal of trust in the current GJA administration and the GJA Awards Scheme, considering the huge financial commitment made to that cause.

The President of Groupe Ideal, Nii Kotei Dzani, has also given a strong indication that his company means real business with the car sponsorship package; indeed, it is prepared to take it deep into the future.

According to Nii Kotei, the sponsorship is in appreciation of the enormous contributions journalists make to the development of the country. Furthermore, Ideal Finance is motivated to sponsor the award for Best Finance Reporting in order to encourage financial journalists to give their best.

In the view of Nii Kotei, good financial reporting is very critical to the socio-economic development of the country. The reverse is true; bad financial reporting has the potency to erode investor confidence and undermine national development.

Ideal Finance has proved to be a doer of big things. That is why within a relatively short period of its operation, it has become a household name with a large portfolio of loyal customers. The company offers loans and investment products at very competitive rates with one major objective – to provide superior customer care to meet the ever-changing and diverse financial needs of customers.

Theme 

Apart from the financial sector, the media also play a very important role in the development of the country’s fledgling democracy. That mandate is even more critical in an election year when everything, including political power, peace and stability, appears to be at stake.

In that regard, and given the expectation of a hot contest on December 7, the GJA could not have settled on a better theme for the awards ceremony than: “Media for undisputed and peaceful 2016 election: The support of civil society.”

“This is imperative in the face of the impact of social media and citizen journalism on the information and communication landscape in a digital world,” Mr Monney asserts.

What’s on offer?

There will be a lot for invitees to eat and drink at the Awards Night, but the theme for the occasion provides a lot of food for thought for the entire nation, as Ghanaians prepare for a crucial general election on December 7.

With President John Mahama as the Guest of Honour; the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei, as the Guest Speaker, and Dormaahene, Oseadeyor Agyeman Badu II, as the Chairman, there will surely be much to chew on the theme for the occasion.

But the evening is not expected to be all about hard talk; there is room for entertainment and interaction with some stars in showbiz. With the Armed Forces Central Band in attendance, there will also be good music for all to unwind the night.

Background of GJA Awards

The GJA was established on August 15, 1949, but the awards began in 1971, initially under the auspices of the UAC and later the Ministry of Information.

The association took charge of the organisation of the awards in 1985 under very challenging circumstances but it braved the odds not only to sustain it, but also make it one of the most prominent events on the national calendar.

The GJA Awards take its roots from Article 3 of the association’s constitution, which enjoins it “to promote professionalism and high journalistic standards and reward and honour outstanding members periodically.”

Essentially, the flagship Journalist of the Year Award seeks to recognise and promote excellence in journalism in Ghana.

The popularity of the GJA Awards event and the prestige that comes with it, is reflected in the high interest shown in the competition by Ghanaian journalists across the country over the years.

It is expected that the height reached with the GJA Awards this year will be maintained. But that will largely be possible if more of the likes of Ideal Finance come on board. That is a clarion call to which corporate Ghana must surely respond.

The writer is a Media Consultant.