The Ghana Journalists Association on Saturday night withheld its prestigious Journalist of the Year Award prize because none of the submitted works for the competitive honour deserved it.
208 entries were submitted for consideration in the various awards categories but according to executives of the GJA, a committee that vetted them found none to be meritorious enough of the prestigious title award.
There were no entries at all in several other categories or submitted works again did not meet quality standards.
Announcement of the verdict at the association's 13th Awards Night at the Banquet Hall of the State House on Saturday cast a deafening silence, albeit momentarily, on an otherwise exciting celebration.
In attendance were Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, who chaired the function, the Chief Justice, Her Ladyship, Mrs Georgina Wood as the guest speaker and Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, also addressed the meeting.
GJA President Ransford Tetteh later told Myjoyonline.com that the obvious challenge in the 'no show' was for practitioners to up their game and enrich the profession.
“If you look at today's event you would say we are not doing well, but I think that it's only an opportunity for us to do better. Look at last year's Best Journalist of the Year Award, when his citation was read, (Anas Aremeyaw Anas of the Crusading Guide newspaper) everybody got up. People were shedding tears, maybe tears of joy or tears of sorrow, it shows you the quality of the work. We can't come down from there, we just have to progress, that is the point and I think that it is a challenge to all of us to work hard. I think we are capable of doing it if we put our act together,” he explained.
Until the anticlimax, several journalists and people in the media and others who had contributed to the growth of the Ghanaian media had been honoured with various prizes, with William Asiedu of the Daily Graphic picking two awards for his story on “Filth engulfs Parliament”, a write-up on the environment that sent the Zoom Lion company scurrying with brooms and brushes to reclaim the august House.
Messrs Innocent Appiah of the Daily Graphic and Samuel Dowuona of the Ghana News Agency, as well as Lauretta Vanderpuije of GTV won awards in News Reporting, while John Vigah of The Ghanaian Times won for Sports Reporting.
Nii Laryea Korle of The Mirror won the Arts/Entertainment/Domestic Tourism award, with GTV's Edward Nyarko winning the Business/Finance/Economic Reporting.
Clare Banoeng Yakubu also of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation won the Health Reporting award, and Adisa Nuhubila Quansah of the Daily Graphic.
Merari Alomele of The Spectator was adjudged Best Features writer.
Honorary awards went to lawyer Akoto Ampaw, veteran journalists Gertrude Opare Addo, Christian Aggrey Mike Atsutse, Razak El-Alawa and a posthumous one for the late Harry Mouzalas.
Mrs Oboshie Sai Coffie, Dan Kwaku Botwe, both former ministers of information, and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation among others were honoured for various roles they played in strengthening the media.
The event was sponsored by telecoms operator, MTN and Unilever Ghana and a host of organisations, including Joy FM.
Story by Isaac Yeboah