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04.03.2006 General News

Environmental journalists honoured


Accra, March 4, GNA - The Ministry of Environment and Science (MES) and Interplast Limited on Friday honoured journalists who have demonstrated their ability and willingness to influence public discourse on the environment.

Peggy Ama Donkor, a reporter with the Ghana Television (GTV), was adjudged the Overall Best Environmental Journalist for 2004/2005 as well as the best for the TV category. She took home 10 million cedis, a television set and a certificate.

The second prize for the TV category was won by Roland Walker of TV3 who received eight million cedis and a certificate with Efia Ansaa Ampene, the host of "Mmaa Nkomo" on GTV receiving the Environmental Personality of the year award.

Other winners included Mr Edmund Smith Asante, Editor of "The Independent" newspaper, who won the Print Category while Sylvanus Kumi of the Ghanaian Times took the second position.

Ama Kudom Agyeman, formerly with GBC radio, now a freelance, won the Radio category and Edwin Kuma Drah with the Current Affairs Section of GBC Radio took the second position.

Media houses including the Ghana News Agency, Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times, Vibe FM, GTV, TV3 and the Spectator were given certificates for reporting and publishing environmental news. Mrs Adwoa Munkua Dako, Vice Chairman of the Awards Panel, said the event, held to coincide with the Africa Environment Day celebration, was established in 2002 for journalists in both the public and private media to motivate them to focus more on environmental issues.

The criteria for the awards, sponsored by the MES, Interplast, Coca Cola, Gemini Life Insurance Company and the Cresta Royale Hotel was based on style, creativity, clarity and impact.

Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister, who was the guest of honour, said so much damage had been done to the environment through absent-mindedness and carelessness.

"It is this mindless destruction of the environment, which is probably the worse offence of our heritage that had cost the country so much in terms of financial and human resources."

He said the Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies could not keep up its task of cleaning the cities because of the extent of choked gutters and filthy environment adding that there was the need for attitudinal change through mass awareness creation.

Ms Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, noted that the impact of any mass education programme depended heavily on the media to educate and guide the citizenry, the majority of who were environmentally unconscious.

"Unfortunately, the reality is yet to ring in some newsrooms where News Editors considered environmental news as no-sellers," she said. She said journalists, who considered environmental issues as important were real patriots, heroes and heroine who must be commended. Ms Churcher said it was sad that the African continent should be described as the only region where more than 40 per cent of the people lived below the poverty line with one of the underlying factors being environmental degradation.

She said the thought behind the institution of the Africa Environment Day would be pursued to its fullest through the implementation of strategic and long term programmes.

Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, the Okyenhene and chairman for the event, said it was sad to note that mining companies neglected their responsibilities of ensuring that communities around the sites were not affected by their operations. He said there was still blood in the urine of children at Akwatia.

He said Ghanaians subjected themselves to mediocrity and status quo paralysis without punishing those who broke the law.

"The revolution we need is none other than that of values and to change attitudes," he said.