The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI), has announced an initiative, in partnership with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), to create an award category to honour journalists for their work on foreign policy issues.
The awards, which begins next year, is to be part of the annual GJA awards ceremony.
The sector minister, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, made this known when the leadership of the GJA called on her yesterday in Accra.
The meeting was meant to formally congratulate the minister on her unrelenting desire for a robust relationship between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional
Integration and the media for the advancement of Ghana’s foreign policy.
She highlighted the ministry’s decision to explore the possibility of rotational travels with members of the Ministry’s Press Corps to afford them first-hand information on the impact of the official foreign travels and the benefits they brought to Ghana.
The gesture is also expected to help journalists gain the necessary exposure and network at the professional level, among others.
Furthermore, she expressed the ministry’s commitment to support the work of the Ghanaian media abroad, including documentary makers and media outlets such as Premier
Productions – producers of Greetings from Abroad, and Hal Solutions – producers of Diplomatic Affairs.
Ms Botchwey expressed the need for continuous cooperation between the ministry and the Ghanaian media to better educate and inform the citizenry about the work of the ministry and its benefits to Ghanaians.
The minister seized the opportunity to congratulate the GJA on its 70th Anniversary and its great gatekeeping role over the years.
She also commended the association for its upcoming 24th GJA Awards, and said that due to hard work and dedication, the Awards had become attractive and an important event on its calendar.
The Minister said the theme for the 70 years’ celebration of the GJA: “Freedom, Democracy and Independence of the Media in Ghana,” was appropriate since the media had been an important institution in Ghana’s democratic development since the return to constitutional rule.
She expressed the hope that the anniversary celebration would spur the media on to greater heights.
Ms Botchwey lauded the association for its commitment towards its members and for working to promote and sustain journalistic standards, particularly, on matters of Ghana’s foreign policy.
She acknowledged and thanked the newly constituted MFARI Press Corps for working with the ministry to promote and project Ghana’s foreign policy issues in an objective and professional manner over the past one year.
In her view, foreign policy was a delicate and sensitive area which had to be handled with tact in order to avoid misrepresentation which could damage relations with external partners and friends – the reason specialisation in that area for journalists was important.
The minister recognised the need for the ministry to partner the Council on Foreign Relations, the GJA and other relevant bodies to offer support towards media capacity building on matters pertaining to foreign policy.
She observed that the ministry’s doors were open for discussions and proposals on matters within its jurisdiction and how relations with the media could be improved for the benefit of the country and the execution of its foreign policy.
The leadership of the GJA, extended an invitation to the minister to participate in the 2019 GJA Awards as a Special Guest.
The GJA President, Mr Roland Affail Monney, pledged the continuous support of the association to the projection of the work of the Foreign Ministry.
He seized the opportunity to request assistance to host international leaders from various media associations in Ghana for the 24th GJA Awards and the climax of the 70th Anniversary of the association.
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