The Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) TV, in partnership with the US Embassy, has held its maiden award ceremony as part of the Media Capacity Building Initiative for Reporting on Disability (MCBIRD) project in Accra to appreciate journalists who report on the plights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
As part of the MCBIRD project, 26 journalists from different media houses were carefully selected for a two-day residential capacity building workshop on proper journalism ethics for reporting on PWDs.
All 26 journalists were presented with certificates at the awards ceremony. However, the top four were specially recognised and given cash prizes for their various reports on PWDs.
Media General’s television News Anchor and producer, Portia Gabor won the overall best journalist reporting on disability. Ghana News Agency’s (GNA) Prosper Kwame Kuorsoh and Citi TV/Radio’s Daniel Abugri came first and second runner ups respectively. Paul Anoma-Kodie of ETV, won the best journalist with disability award.
The ceremony which was held on International Day for Persons With Disabilities to celebrate diversity and for all to seek to understand their challenges was under the theme, ‘Leadership by participation of persons with disability towards an inclusive accessible and sustainable post COVID world’.
Giving the keynote address at the ceremony, US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sullivan expressed worry that the voices of the over 3 million PWDs are not heard.
She therefore urged the fellows of the MCBIRD project to become the voice of PWDs and report accurately on their plights. “This workshop in which you participated sought to promote accuracy, fairness and diversity in media coverage of issues related to disability and to promote overall professionalism and ethics among journalists on reporting on PWDs or any organised disability,” she said.
She emphasised that “as members of the media you carry a huge responsibility to improve the objective truth. It is essential to do your research, check your sources, seek a different perspective, wield on fact base reporting that allows the public to hear all sides, serves everyone better.”
Ms. Sullivan further expressed her governments commitment to working with Ghanaian Journalists to have an inclusive environment. “US is committed to working alongside to develop Ghana’s journalistic corps. Together we aim to foster inclusive environment to reach all forces that are represented, respected and contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society that leaves no one behind. Agenda for sustainable development,” she emphasised.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister for Information, Fatimatu Abubakar stressed on governments commitment to the plight of PWDS and assured of more social protection programs to make them have a sense of belonging.
“Government is committed to including our social protection programs, the ones that are not contributory and the ones that are contributory like the national health insurance programme, so that it benefits everyone in society including persons that have been marginalised like PWDs,” she said.
She further encouraged the media to continuously draw attention of government and other stakeholders to the plights of PWDs. “I can only admonish the media to continue to bring our attention to those issues, offer the platform for people to tell their stories and let us collectively help bring the issues out and address them accordingly,” she added.
Dr. Annand Agarwal of Bluecrest University, Press Attache at the US Embassy and Rector of GIMPA, Prof. Samuel Kwaku Bonsu, representatives from Limitless Ghana a non-governmental organisation supporting the MCBIRD project and other stakeholders were present.