Mr Daniel Dzirasah, Brong Ahafo (now, Bono, Bono East and Ahafo) regional correspondent of the New Times Corporation (NTC), was at the weekend adjudged the best mining reporter for the year 2018/2019, in Sunyani.
This was at the maiden edition of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), awards ceremony instituted at the regional level to reward journalists for their exceptional performance.
Mr Dzirasah took the covetous award for his investigative story on illegal mining activities in the Desiri forest reserve at Dadiesoaba, Mankeseim, in the Asutifi South District of the Bono region, despite government’s ban.
The ceremony, which was on the theme: ‘Promoting Responsible Mining- the role of the media’, was attended by Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ignatius Bafuor Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Bono Regional Minister, Evelyn Ama Kumi Richardson, traditional rulers and other dignitaries.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh said there was a bill currently before Parliament to amend the Mining Act 703 section 99, to enable the court to impose stiffer punishments on perpetrators of illegal mining.
He said offenders could be slapped with jail term, not less than 25 years.
According to Mr Asomah-Cheremeh, the theme chosen by the GJA for the occasion was appropriate as it was in accordance with government’s agenda in promoting sustainable and responsible mining in the country.
He reminded the public that the fight against illegal mining was a shared responsibility and not for those in authority alone.
Mr Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah of the Daily Graphic, who was crowned the best journalist for the year, also won two other awards: best feature writing and best in the disability category. For his prize, Adu-Gyamerah would go on a sponsored return trip to Dubai.
Biiya Mukasah Ali also of the Daily Graphic won an award in the environment and sanitation category.
Joy News/ Gaskiya FM’s Anass Sabit in Techiman won the most Promising Journalist award while Edward Adjei Frimpong of the Business and Financial Times was adjudged the best reporter in business and economics.
Robert Tachie-Menson of the Ghana News Agency walked way with the best in agriculture reporting award.
The Dormaahene, Osagyefo Agyeman Badu was awarded the life patron of the GJA for supporting the association over the years.
Mr Affail Money, President of the GJA said the association was working hard to address the insecurity challenges journalists in the country were facing.
He announced that a safety mechanism programme would be rolled out in November this year.
He urged journalists to be responsible in the reportage, but asked them not to be deterred in carrying out their professional duties and fulfil their constitutional mandate.
The GJA president commended all award winners, as well as the Regional GJA for its foresight in coming up with the awards.
FROM TIMES REPORTER, SUNYANI