I have no issues with the names mentioned for the upcoming 70th Anniversary GJA awards Ceremony.
All the names mentioned deserve the honour going to be accorded them.
But failure to plan the flow of nomination management process can cause needless problems during the implementation stage.
The point of any nomination process is selecting people who have made a significant contribution to an organization, project, industry or another setting. I know that the GJA’s decisions are based on a set of criteria that define the profile of the persons selected.
The reality is, those of us outside don’t always know the criteria the GJA uses during their evaluation process. That notwithstanding, we know the hardworking and true professionals in the media industry. We know those who possessed or process solid ethical core and integrity. We know those who were or are fair, objective and honest and reported or report accurate and reliable information to the public. When it comes to journalism, we must also look at a journalist’s boldness and the courage he exhibits. We look at journalists who put personal feelings aside in order to unleash the truth. If one considers these requisites (traits), then more names should be added to the names shortlisted.
Names like Mr Kofi Badu, Mr Kofi Baako, Osagyefo himself, Kwame Gyawu Kyem and few others. Yes, the list will not end if the GJA decides to extend its lenses but there are certain names who deserve the Associations recognition. Some of them have already received national awards for their role in the industry’s development and the Media liberation struggle.
We are raising this issue because this particular award ceremony is an anniversary awards ceremony. I will even advocate for the inclusion of the two top political figures in the country today, the sitting President and the immediate former President His Excellency John Dramani Mahama for their roles in the industry’s development and its liberation struggle. I didn’t mention Katakyie President Kufour because he’s already been recognized and he deserves every recognition
Under his (John Mahama ) watch as Communication Minister, the hitherto quiescent media dominated by the three controlled state Media houses, Graphic, Times and the GBC, suddenly became vibrant with private participation. Most of the prohibitive decrees were repealed and the private press got a reputation as the opposition press due to its role in holding government in check. The sitting President was one of the people who championed press freedom in Ghana between the 70s and the early the 90s.
Jerry John Rawlings under whose watch the constitution of the Republic was drafted deserves recognition. Yes the media encountered few challenges during his tenure but the media experienced same difficulties after his exit. The media’s vibrancy started during his time. The Chronicle, the Free Press among others, unceasingly, unleashed fire and brimstone on his administration and I can say the private media was more active and vibrant during his time compared to what we witnessing today. Recognizing the efforts of these former Presidents especially Akufo-Addo and John Mahama will encourage our young journalists to improve their performance. How beautiful and heartwarming it would be seeing the two top political figures standing on the same platform to receive their awards.
What about Mr Kofi Badu? One of Ghana’s seasoned journalists. Hope we remember how he kept the Busia government on its toes and his famous statement “with my pen I’ll bring down the Busia government”. Kofi became the most vociferous critic of Busia and his government. His newspaper became the hottest newspaper and became the Prime Minister’s Bible. Kofi also wrote for Nkrumah’s Evening News and was the first journalist to take on Late Ohene Djan. My uncle Ohene Djan had become very powerful that all journalists avoided his arena but Kofi defied all odds and fired him constantly. Kofi was the one who gave the epithet “Kafuo Didi” to Prime Minister Busia. This was in reference to Busia’s statement at the meeting of the Paris Club ” no debt is sacrosanct”. He also called Busia, the High Priest of Wenchi. Kofi openly rose up against Busia’s dictatorial tendencies and the administration’s bad economic policies. Under Acheampong, he was appointed the Editor of the Daily Graphic. He fled the 31st December Revolution. He was one the critics of the Rawlings administration but later entered the good books of Rawlings and was appointed the Managing Director of Graphic Corporation.
At age twenty, Kofi Baako was the editor-in- chief of Nkrumah’s Cape Coast Daily Mail. He wrote powerful articles against the colonial administration and became the administration’s target. His famous article “We call for freedom” landed him in prison. He was imprisoned alongside Nkrumah and others. Before this terrible incident, he had been fired from his job for writing an article titled “My hatred of imperialism”. He served in various capacities in Nkrumah’s government and was the youngest Minister not only in Ghana but the whole of the British Commonwealth of Nations. He was an outstanding performer and recognized as one of the best Information Ministers ever. I know that organizations run surveys before starting its nominations for an award ceremony to help it craft a targeted nominee profile. I believe the GJA did extensive work before putting out the names. Good job done so far but I honestly think its lenses should extended to every corner. The association’s role in our nation’s development cannot be underestimated hence the interest Ghanaians are showing in their upcoming anniversary awards ceremony. I have few issues with the categorization but will leave that for another day.