Monday, November 11, 2013

Aftermath Of 18th GJA Awards: A Challenge To PRINPAG

There are organisations in this world which many men and women of great repute will never in their lifetime dare to associate themselves with; they will never want to work with them in anyway and neither will they even accept gold or diamond offered them by such organisations. 

Unfortunately, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) is striding towards these organisations and that could cost them a lot if pragmatic steps are not taken to address the scandals that show up after every awards night. 

Dear reader, you might have read what Manasseh Azuri Awuni Bongo wrote about what happened during the 17th and 18th GJA Awards.

After reading Manasseh’s article, I felt so sorry for the current GJA President, Dr. Affail Monney and his team of men and women at the national level and various regional chapters of the association.

Manasseh says in his article captioned: Manasseh’s Folder: The GJA Awards and matters arising published on, at the 17th GJA awards in 2012, “I was called to receive an award which wasn’t mine. The category was the best reporter in radio news. When I heard my name for that category, I realised something was wrong. I didn’t submit any radio entry.” 

Manasseh continued: “I hesitated but went on to receive it in order not to disrupt the programme, which was live on TV. When I picked up the prize, both the plaque and certificate bore the name of Mr. Dominic Hlordzi of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. As soon as I stepped down, I quickly went backstage to alert, the MC and the organizers. I was told that the list given to the MC had Mr. Hlordzi’s name, but the recorded announcements which appeared on the electronic screen had my name.” 

“I told them to effect the correction because Dominic Hlordzi was present at the ceremony. When I sat for sometime and realised the ceremony was ending without the correction, I went back and argued that it would not be fair to end the ceremony without awarding Mr. Hlordzi. I also drew the attention of one GJA executive member to the blunder” he revealed.

“At a point I had to give up because I had heard whispers that I would be declared winner of the topmost award and walking around was not the best thing to do. The ceremony ended without the correction, and Mr. Hlordzi went home without an award. He had come with his family members”, Manasseh painfully recalled.

Manasseh also cited Richard Kwadwo Nyarko, Central Regional Correspondent of Joy FM who said to him that, during the GJA executive elections this year, his name was published in both the Daily Graphic and The Ghanaian Times as GJA member in good standing. He therefore voted to elect the current executive. 

Sadly however, Richard, who was named as an awardee at a press conference a few days before the 18th GJA Awards night, was later denied the award a few hours to the event. This is mind-boggling. The reason was that the GJA Executive said he was not a member of good standing and thus didn’t deserve any award. Disappointed and perhaps angry, Richard reluctantly had to drive back to Cape Coast in the company of his wife who followed him all the way to Accra to attend the event. 

In fact, I agree with Manasseh that the organization of the awards leaves much to be desired. I rated last year’s event to be better organized than this year’s. I say so because the event was somehow boring with so many speeches and awardees were not given the opportunity to say a word or two to some people who might have helped them in building their career. 

I must confess that, after reading Manasseh’s article, the yearning desire which regularly urges me to be a registered member of the GJA just died. I felt that I didn’t and still don’t need to be a member of the GJA now and in the near future, and neither do I need a GJA Award to show to the world that I am a good, hardworking Ghanaian journalist who is contributing his bit in a nook somewhere in the North to make the world a better place for the poor and oppressed. 

Indeed I said to myself that, if care is not taken by the Affail Monney Administration and future leaderships of the GJA, a time will come when some former awardees will return all the awards they ever won and direct that, their names be erased from any records that show that they ever won GJA awards. 

Besides, corporate institutions such as MTN, RLG Communications, Uniliver and Ghana National Petroleum Corporation among others, are likely to lose interest in sponsoring any event of the GJA because of scandals such as what we’ve already seen which have the tendency to ruin their image and future business prospects.  

Where is PRINPAG?

After reading Manasseh’s article, what came to my mind next was PRINPAG. I understand that the number of private newspapers in Ghana currently is inching towards one hundred. If what I gathered is anything to go by, it means that the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana can also and should start organizing awards to honour its members and reporters. 

Come to think of it, aside the annual Ghana Music Awards organised by the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), there are also other events like the 4sight Music Video Awards, Reggae and Dancehall Artistes Awards and Gospel Music Awards organised separately by recognised bodies on different dates to honour professionals of the various music genre. 

Also, the Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) and the Radio and Television Personality (RTP) Awards are another unique opportunities created by recognized bodies to honour deserving sports journalists, and sportsmen and women as well as other media practitioners. 

Dear PRINPAG, I know you are still alive and kicking. In fact, I think this is the time for you to stand up to the challenge posed by the different professional groupings mentioned above, especially the GJA, which many journalists are increasingly feeling disappointed about. PRINPAG, you have the numbers and so should have the capacity to start organizing awards to honour your hardworking members. Till you hear from me again, have a good time!

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