The winner of 2009 Best Telecommunications Reporter award, Mr Samuel Dowuona, formerly of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), would embark on an all expense-paid trip to South Africa to participate in a Highway Africa conference.
The trip, which would be sponsored by MTN, an international telecommunication service provider, would enable Mr Dowuona to network with the conference participants and learn new trends in information communication technology (ICT) and telecommunication reporting.
Mrs Mawuena Trebarh, Corporate Services Executive of MTN, who announced this at the weekend, at a forum organised by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to present a laptop computer, a modem and data subscriber identification module (SIM) card to each of the 30 corporate and individual award winners of the association.
She gave the assurance that MTN would continue to build the capacity of media practitioners through workshops that train journalists in specialised reporting, especially in telecommunication and ICT.
“We encourage journalists to show interest in ICT online reporting since it is the new trend,” she said.
Mr Dowuona’s story entitled “Mobile Phone is Big Money in Ghana,” which won him the award, focused on the average revenue per user, which telecommunication companies, operating in the country, received from subscribers in 12 months.
He expressed optimism that the conference, which is expected to be patronised by journalists around the world, would build his capacity to make meaningful contributions in Ghana.
Mr Dowuona noted that some challenges Africa faces in harnessing the potential of telecommunication for political and socio-economic development include illiteracy and unreliable energy source.
He expressed the hope that with public- private participation and increased governmental commitment, the relevance of the telecommunication industry would be fully utilised to develop various sectors of the economy.
“When properly trained, the tomato farmer in Tamale for instance, can use the mobile phone effectively to link transport owners and retailers both in the country and abroad to transport and market the vegetable,” he said.
Mr Dowuona added that the farmer could monitor prices and act prudently to sell, based on favourable market conditions.
He noted that the educational sector could as well be an area that ICT could be used to transform the country’s institution of learning.
Mr Kabral Blay Amihere, Chairman of the National Media Commission, thanked MTN for its invaluable support to the media, which comprised corporate support in the area of democracy, peace and development.
He challenged the award winners to strive to greater heights to win international awards.
“Try your best to be the best all the days of your professional life,” he said.
Mr Aidan White, Secretary General of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), said Ghanaian journalists must consider themselves blessed practicing in a country filled with people who are highly spirited and commitment.
He lauded Ghanaians for their well-cultured behaviour as well as their respect for the country’s rich heritage adding the qualities give him a sense of optimism that the citizenry are committed to development.
“It is a great time to be a journalist practicing in a vivacious country such as Ghana,” he said.
Mr White gave the assurance that IFJ would continue to collaborate with Ghana to ensure that journalists are well motivated and rewarded.
Mr Ransford Tetteh, President of the GJA, said the award winners represented the new face of excellence in journalism, and urged them to carry on the crusade for best ethical and professional practice.
“You have started a crusade to give a new face to professional and ethical journalism in the country,” he said.
Mr Tetteh cautioned them to be circumspective and be responsible in their reportage.
The award winners were Dzifa Azumah, and Samuel Akapule of GNA, Metro TV’s Samuel Agyeman, Portia Solomon, TV3, Francis Tufuor, Ghanaian Times, Joy FM’s Evans Mensah, Kingsley Oben Kyere, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Doreen Allotey, Daily Graphic, Peter Dela Tengey, Metro TV, Gabriel Ahiabor, Daily Graphic, Maurice Quansah, Daily Graphic and Kofi Akpabli, Freelance Journalist.
Others were Edward Nyarko, Ghana Television, Esther Awuah, Business Guide, Emelia Abbey, Daily Guide, Daily Graphic’s Lucy Adoma Yeboah, Gertrude Ankah, Ghanaian Times’ Kingsley Hope, Issah Shaibu, GBC, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, New Crusading Guide and Isabella Owusu-Oppong, GTV.
The rest were Vicky Wereko-Andoh, Daily Graphic, Daily Guide’s Akosua, Graphic Communication’s Group Limited, Radio Peace 88.8 FM, Winneba, Sunrise Radio 106.7, GBC Koforidua, Citi FM 97.3FM, Diamond FM 93.7 and Tamale, Obonu FM.