The Awards Committee for the 2016 Edition of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) annual awards, meant to honour and recognise journalists who excelled through their stories last year, was inaugurated in Accra yesterday.
The 10-member Awards Committee is made of seasoned journalists who have lectured in journalism as well as practiced for decades, both locally and internationally.
The members of the committee are Roberta Gardner, Kwasi Kpodo, Francis Kokutse, Kofi Akordor, Rosemary Ardayfio, Kwaku Sersah Johnson, Kweku Botwe, Zakaria Tanko Musah and Monica Bleboo.
Among the terms of reference of the Awards Committee, are to assess the entries for the awards and recommend individual journalists who should be awarded.
The President of the GJA, Roland Affail-Monney in his address said the task of the Awards Committee was “simple but very important.”
He said the task of the Awards Committee was to “assess the work of journalists who desire to be honoured at the highest level as far as journalism is concerned.”
Adding that the awards “represent the highest pinnacle of journalistic achievement.”
Mr. Affail-Monney remarked that the members of the Awards Committee were seasoned journalists and lecturers whose professionalism, integrity and competence could not be questioned.
The President of the GJA lauded the members of the Committee for availing themselves to serve in the profession.
He expressed the hope that members of the Committee would deliver to the best of their ability and work within the confines of their professional ethics.
Touching on the impeding general elections, Mr. Affail-Monney entreated the media to be circumspect in their reportage and focus on critical national issues because “so much is demanded of the media this election year.”
He said some voters depended so much on the information churned out by the media to decide which of the Presidential candidates to vote for.
Mr. Affail-Monney, therefore appealed to the media, to provide credible information to the public to aid in deciding which of the competing presidential candidates they would elect.
He expressed concern about the concentration of the media in reporting on false matters instead of reporting on imperative issues in the areas of health, education, among others which would bring development to the country.
Mr. Affail-Monney for instance cited the focus of the media on the alleged arrest of the Central Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, Mr. Allotey Jacobs, which turned out not be true, when there were important matters to be discussed.
“This is a time to demonstrate a high sense of professionalism and not feed the public with information which is not credible,” he cautioned.
The General Secretary of the GJA, David Agbenu said the Committee has one month to present its report.
He explained that the Awards Committee is an independent body and the GJA has no influence in their operations, saying the mandate of the committee was to vet stories submitted for the awards and recommend those who should be awarded.
As part of the programme silence was held in memory of those who died through the June 3 disaster.
By Kingsley Asare and Alimatu Quaye