Accra, Aug 30, GNA-The winner of 2009 Best Telecommunications Reporter award, Mr. Samuel Dowuona of the Ghana News Agency, would this year, embark on an all expense-paid trip to South Africa to participate in a Highway Africa conference.
The trip, which would be sponsored by MTN, an international telecommunication service provider, would enable the award winner to create network with participants attending the conference as well as learn new trends in information communication technology (ICT) and telecommunication reporting.
Mrs. Mawuena Trebarh, Corporate Services Executive of MTN, announced on Friday, at a forum organized by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to present a laptop computer, a modem and data subscriber identification module (SIM) card to each of the 30 corporate and individual award winners.
She gave the assurance that MTN would continue to build the capacity of media practitioners through workshops that train journalists in specialized reporting, especially in telecommunication and ICT.
"We encourage journalists to show interest in ICT online reporting since it is the new trend," she said, adding that growth of social media networks had far-reaching audiences.
Mr. Samuel Dowuona's story entitled "Mobile Phone is Big Money in Ghana," which won him the award, focused on the average revenue per user, which telecommunication companies, operating in the country, received from subscribers monthly within a year.
He expressed optimism that the conference, which is expected to be patronized by journalists around the world, would build his capacity to make meaningful contributions in Ghana.
Mr. Dowuona noted that some challenges Africa faced in harnessing the potential of telecommunication for politico-socio-economic development, included illiteracy and unreliable energy source.
He was however hopeful that with public private participation and increased governmental commitment, the telecommunication industry's relevance would be fully utilized to develop various sectors of the economy.
"When properly trained, the tomato farmer in Tamale for instance, can use the mobile phone effectively to link transport owners and retailers both in the country and abroad to transport and market the vegetable," he said.
Mr Dowuona added that the farmer could monitor prices and act prudently to sell based on favourable market conditions.
He noted that the educational sector could as well be an area that ICT could be used to transform the country's institution of learning.
Earlier, Mr. Kabral Blay Amihere, Chairman of the National Media Commission, thanked MTN for its invaluable support to the media adding corporate support for media was support for democracy, peace and development.
He challenged the award winners to strive to greater heights to win international awards.
"Try your best to be the best all the days of your professional life," he said.
Mr. Aiden White, Secretary General of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), said Ghanaian journalists must consider themselves blessed practicing in a country filled with people who were highly spirited and commited.
He lauded Ghanaians for their well-cultured behaviour as well as their respect for the country's rich heritage, adding the qualities give him a sense of optimism that the citizenry are committed to development.
"It is a great time to be a journalist practicing in a vivacious country such as Ghana is," he said.
Mr. White gave the assurance that IFJ would continue to collaborate with Ghana to ensure journalists were well motivated and rewarded.
Mr. Ransford Tetteh, President of the GJA, said the award winners represented the new face of excellence in journalism, and urged them to carry on the crusade for best ethical and professional practice.
"You have started a crusade to give a new face to professional and ethical journalism in the country," he said.
Mr. Tetteh cautioned them to be circumspect and responsible in their reportage.
The award winners were Metro TV's Samuel Agyeman, Portia Solomon, TV3, Francis Tufuor, Ghanaian Times, Joy FM's Evans Mensah, Kingsley Oben Kyere, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Doreen Allotey, Daily Graphic, Peter Dela Tengey, Metro TV, Gabriel Ahiabor, Daily Graphic, Maurice Quansah, Daily Graphic and Kofi Akpabli, Freelance Journalist.
Others were Edward Nyarko, Ghana Television, Esther Awuah, Business Guide, Emelia Abbey, Daily Guide, Daily Graphic's Lucy Adoma Yeboah, Getrude Ankah, Samuel Akapule, GNA, Ghanaian Times' Kingsley Hope, Dzifa Azumah, GNA, Issah Shaibu, GBC, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, New Crusading Guide and Issabella Owusu-Oppong, GTV.
The rest were Vicky Wereko-Andoh, Daily Graphic, Daily Guide's Akosua, Graphic Communication's Group Limited, Radio Peace 88.8 FM, Winneba, Sunrise Radio 106.7, GBC Koforidua, Citi FM 97.3FM, Diamond FM 93.7 and Tamale, Obonu FM.