The 16th Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Awards has been launched in Accra with a call on business concerns to promote media excellence since a free society engenders development and economic growth.
Launching the Awards, Mr Ransford Tetteh, President of GJA said there was the need to encourage public-private, corporate-individual as well as governmental and non-governmental partnership in the development of the Ghanaian media.
“However, we must admit that the ultimate aim in the future should be a well developed and self-sufficient GJA to single-handedly organise its awards ceremonies without any hustle and hopefully, with hard work and determination, and the support of friends and partners, we shall get there,” he said.
He however allayed the fears of those who argue that the media would be compelled to compromise its critical instinct.
This year’s awards, which will be held on the August 20, will be boosted with six new additional awards in the areas of agriculture, science, oil and gas, anti-narcotics, social security and water. This will bring the total of competitive awards to 50.
Entries should cover works published or broadcast from the period of January 1 2010 to December 31, 2010. Closing date for the receipt of entries will be Monday, May, 9.
Mr Tetteh said there was an encouraging steady increase in participation from 208 entries in 2007 to 271 in 2009 and that showed the growing interest of journalists for the event.
He said the expansion and focus on specific areas would help to encourage specialisation and also get the media not to disregard the importance of politics but tone down on the discourse and engage more in development journalism.
He noted that the GJA awards should be seen as part of the over all efforts by the Association in promoting high journalistic standards as well as a barometer for measuring, periodically the performance of Ghanaian media and journalists in particular.
Mr Tetteh expressed concern about the recent public outcry over the performance of the media and said journalists should not only be blamed for the unprofessionalism plaguing the media.
“But the GJA takes the public criticisms of the media in their promotion of the culture of insults and pornography in good faith.”
He led on the National Media Commission, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, Private Newspapers Publishers Association, politicians, government and civil society to play their expected role in tackling the problem.
He commended government for giving the Ghana Broadcasting Legislation to help regulate and promote decency as well as sanity in the broadcast industry.
Mr Tetteh urged the Ministry of Information to speed up its efforts to establish a Film Censorship Board to ensure that films with pornographic scenes were not shown to the public and compel the Ghana Police Service to enforce the law against obscenity and pornographic publications.