The media in Ghana has been called upon to work to expose corruption because it is corrosive to development and democracy.
Speaking at the15th Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Awards, Aidan White, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), also asked Ghanaian journalists to lead the struggle for tolerance and pluralism.
Mr. White said the media must strengthen standards of transparency and accountability, warning that if the media is corrupt, democracy will be flawed.
The theme for the event was “Unethical Journalism and Corruption in the Media: A Danger to Democracy,”
He expressed concern about the fact that journalism is not about freedom of speech, where any one with a pen, microphone or access to the internet could write and publish anything, “journalism,” he said, “is about restrained, constrained truth.” He argued that journalism should be practiced by trained professionals guided by the rules and standards of the profession.
Mr. White said journalists are poorly paid which makes them succeptible to corruption and urged media owners and employers to improve on the salaries they pay to journalists.
Making his presentation, the president of the GJA, Ransford Tetteh, said the media in Ghana has a long way to go to fulfil the expectations of the Ghanaian public. He said the media’s mistakes have been irritating to the public.
The Minister of Information John Tia Akologu in his presentation gave the assurance that government is willing to support the GJA to weed out charlatans who are bringing journalism into disrepute , urging that when journalists write about corruption, it must be based on the national interest.
He also shared concerns about the poor salaries of Ghanaian journalists.
On the awards, Samuel Agyemang of Metro TV, a private TV station won the Journalist of Year Award. And for his prize he gets a plaque, certificate, a laptop, and a GH¢42,000 package which includes a trip to the United States.
The following are the other award winers:
News Reporting TV – Portia Solomon (TV3)
News Reporting Print – Francis Tuffour (Ghanaian Times)
News Reporting (Radio) – Evans Mensah (Joy FM)
Features (Radio)- Kingsley Obeng Kyere (GBC)
Features (TV) – Samuel Agyemang (Metro TV)
Features (Print) – Doreen Allotey (Daily Graphic)
Investigative Reporting – Pete Dela Tenge (Metro TV)
Sports Reporting – Maurice Quansah – (Daily Graphic)
Arts, Entertainment and Domestic Tourism – Kofi Akpabli – Freelance
Photo Journalism – Gabriel Ahiabor (Daily Graphic)
Business, Finance and Economic Reporting – Edward Nyarko (GTV)
Small and Micro Scale Enterprises – Esther Awuah – (Business Guide)
Environment – Emelia Abbey (Daily Guide)
Health Reporting – Lucy Adoma Yeboah – (Daily Graphic)
HIV/AIDS Reporting – Gertrude Anka – (Ghanaian Observer)
Development Journalism for advancing MDGs – Portia Solomon – (TV3)
Rural Reporting – Samuel Akapule – (GNA)
Crime and Court Reporting – Kingsley Hope – (Ghanaian Times)
Hygiene and Sanitation – Dzifa Azumah (GNA)
Disability Reporting – Issah Shaibu – (GBC)
Telecommunications – Samuel Dowuona (GNA)
Anti-Corruption – Anas Aremeyaw Anas (New Crusading Guide)
Education – Isabella Owusu-Oppong – (GTV)
Features – Vicky Wirekoh Andoh – (Daily Graphic)
Cartoonist – Akosua – (Daily Guide)
Best Layout and Design newspaper – (Daily Graphic)
Best Rural Radio Station – Radio Peace (Winneba)
Human Rights – Sunrise Radio (Koforidua)
Democracy and Peace – (Citi FM)
Best Radio Programme in Akan – (Peace FM)
Best Radio Programme in Dagbane – Diamond FM – (Tamale)
Best Radio Programme (Talk) – Obonu FM.
Multimedia Broadcasting Limited and Peace FM were given honourary awards. Aidan White of the IFJ was given a special award by the GJA for his contributions to global journalism.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi