The 23rd Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Awards has been launched in Accra, with a call for support from Corporate Ghana towards the organisation of the event.
This year, the GJA flagship event on the theme: “State of Investigative Journalism, Boundaries of Privacy and Borders of Public Interest”, would take place on October 27 at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra, with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the Special Guest of Honour.
Speaking at the launch of the event, the GJA President, Mr Affail Monney, said it was needless to state that the work of the journalist is hellish and that his or her schedules are endless, deadlines are incessant and newsrooms brusque.
He explained that even in the face of deep set fatigue, they are expected to deliver peak performance and: “It is only fair and morally justified that those who excel are rewarded handsomely not only by their employers but more importantly corporate Ghana and consumers of media content,” he added.
He noted that many individuals and companies ride on the back of the media to make it big.
“So in the spirit of reciprocity, in line with corporate social responsibility and for the promotion of the country’s democratic ascendancy, the media awards must receive overwhelming support at all times to motivate practitioners to go the extra mile to serve our dear nation”, Mr Monney stated.
He explained that on the theme, the GJA was torn between investigative journalism and attacks on journalists “to express our outrage and demand action against the scandalous frequency of incidents”.
He pointed out that investigative journalism was eventually chosen to allow the awards to create a huge deliberative platform to address lingering issues and emerging concerns over that specialised area of journalism.
He lauded the management of Kempinski for giving out the venue for the awards programme free of charge.
He said Kempiski's sponsorship package in total was worth $40,000, declaring that this generosity automatically makes Kempinski a major sponsor for the awards.
Mr Monney also hailed the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for donating GH¢50,000 towards the organisation of the event.
He also expressed deep concern about Mr Hassan Ayariga, the Founder and Leader of the All People's Congress (APC) attack on a Ghana News Agency (GNA) Reporter –Jerry Azanduna, and appealed to the authorities to ensure that he was brought to book.
Mr Ayariga has been accused of allegedly hiring thugs to beat up Mr Jerry Azanduna, a Senior Reporter of GNA in Bawku in the Upper East Region.
The GJA President said no one was above the laws of the country.
Reverend Emmanuel Asante, the Chairman of the National Peace Council, said the journalist had the responsibility to hold public officers to accountability, but this must be done with all fairness; adding that, there was a thin line between privacy and public interest.
He said part of the problems that journalists faced in the country was the lack of information; he, therefore, appealed to the government to ensure that the Right To Information (RTI) Bill was passed in order to help journalists in their line of duty.
the Executive Director, Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, who formally performed the launch of the awards event, said media exposés on illegal mining had not led to the successful prosecution of any Ghanaian involved.
He urged journalists to ensure that after the exposé, they follow up to make sure that there was successful prosecution of all wrong doers.
The acting Managing Director, Graphic Communications Group Limited, Mr Ransford Tetteh, also urged the media to continue to work hard to ensure that people were punished for their wrong doings.
He appealed to the current leadership of the GJA to continue to knock on the door of the government to ensure that the RTI was passed.
He also appealed to Corporate Ghana to support the GJA Awards; stating that the success of the GJA would go a long way to benefit Corporate Ghana.
Madam Cornelia Zschunke, Executive Assistant Manager, Kempinski Hotel, said they were very proud and honoured to be part of the 23rd GJA Awards.
Officials of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Ashfoam Company Limited and Vokacom were at the event to present their donations.
The event was attended by veteran journalists and corporate partners.