Last Saturday, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) held the 26th edition of its flagship programme dubbed GJA Awards 2021.
The Ghanaian Times congratulates both the association and all the award winners and extends special felicitations to Portia Gabor of TV3, adjudged Journalist of the Year 2021, and two of our own reporters, Benedicta Gyimah Folley and Geoffrey Buta, crowned Best in Gender Reporting and Best Photojournalist respectively.
The congratulations to the association itself are rooted in the fact that once again the GJA has acquitted itself as a body not ready to allow any negative occurrences, including financial constraints, misunderstanding and disagreements, to stop it from upholding whatever it believes in and hopes to achieve.
It is public information that the GJA Awards 2021 could not be held last year due to controversies over the expiration of the term of office of the immediate past GJA Executive and the need to elect a new executive to hold the awards.
Has it prompted journalists and others that the awards scheme was established in December 1985 as an annual event, yet after almost 37 years, only 26 editions have been held?
The history of the scheme would inform you that lack of sponsorship, journalists’ own lack of interest, the lack of societal interest in the work of journalists and certain controversies are among the reasons for that state of affairs.
It should interest journalists of this country, particularly the young ones, as well as the rest of society, to ask questions about the roles of Ghanaian journalists in the changing world and the need to award them for their works.
There is no society in the ever-changing world which can function without journalists.
For instance, in a democracy, journalism serves as the Fourth Estate of the realm.
In that sense, the media, for that matter journalists, are to clearly and objectively explain political concerns; assist in holding politicians responsible in discharge of their duties; and expose corruption by public officials in particular.
That is to say it becomes the link between the ruling and the ruled in which case the ruled can make their problems known to the ruling class while obeying state directives.
Besides, the media is also a source of information of events in one’s own society and others.
Based on media information, members of the public can take certain decisions, while the media provides the platform for people other than journalists to partake in public discourse.
On this occasion of congratulating journalists on their roles in advancing progress in society, the Ghanaian Times wishes to also commend sponsors of the GJA Awards 2021 for their support and appeal for more for future awards.
Because the awards scheme is meant to award excellence in journalism, the implication is that it is helping to nurture journalism to make it play its best role in society.
If that is so, then it means that sponsors are indirectly helping to nurture journalism and so deserve praise.
Since there is the adage that “every society gets the
media it deserves”, there is the need for the entire society to uphold its stake in the development of the Ghanaian media to make it independent, impartial and responsible so the society can enjoy its full benefits.
Once again, we congratulate winners of awards at the GJA Awards 2021 and the GJA on holding a successful event.