Bolgatanga, Jan. 12, GNA – The Press Foundation (TPF), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has held the second edition of the National Media Festival in Bolgatanga with a call on journalists to go beyond their comfort zones and engage in investigative reporting.
The Festival is aimed at bringing together journalists and stakeholders to celebrate investigative journalism with the establishment of the Anas Aremeyaw Anas Investigative Journalism Award, to encourage more journalists to delve into issues that would influence society.
The first edition was held last year in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional Capital. This year’s Festival was attended by journalists, politicians, the clergy, chiefs, some heads of department, security services and some members of the public.
Mr Listowel Yesu Bukarson, the Executive Director of the TPF, said it was founded two years ago and subsequently instituted the National Media Festival to bring as many journalists as possible, stakeholders and the business community together to brainstorm on issues and market them through the media.
Chaired by the Paramount Chief of the Talensi Traditional Area, Tong-Rana Kugbilsong Nalebegtang, the Festival was held on the theme: “Developing Northern Ghana; the Role of the Journalist.”
Mr Bukarson said: “One reason we decided to come here is that we have all heard, read and seen the works of Anas Aremeyaw Anas, his works have taken him across the country and beyond, he is a symbol that is valued and appreciated by not just us in Ghana, but the globe.”
He said after the previous year’s edition, he observed that journalists including Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Mannaseh Azure Awuni, Samson Lardy Anyenini Shamima Muslim, and himself, were from the northern part of the country and their jobs had impacted on the nation, and thus decided to come back to interact with their people as proud sons of the area.
Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari, the Upper East Regional Minister, commended the Executive of the TPF for the initiative and said Northern Ghana was proud of all her sons and daughters who had imbibed the discipline and culture to stand out in their endeavours.
He said the media’s strong position in recent times had moved them from mirroring society to setting the agenda, adding that it was no doubt a large segment of the population made decisions and took actions based on information received on air, newspapers or the internet.
Giving the strong influence of the media, the Minister said it had a crucial role to play in the development of Northern Ghana.
“The first task is to work towards changing the psyche of citizens from being content with poverty and helplessness to one of seeing opportunities in challenges,” he said.
Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the Investigative Journalist, said being at the event was important because “it was the only opportunity we could get to have a face to face interaction with you, when you hit town and you hear the rumours, those who say I am a spirit, this is no spirit matter, I am here in person and in flesh.”
He said it was incumbent on people from the north of Ghana to make the right decisions and take the right and appropriate steps to ensure that the area was developed.
Mr Anas showed some of his investigative videos and said his purpose for participating in the event was to tell the people the truth and the reality.
“People think that the journalist’s job is just to tell a story and leave it and let the rest continue, I am a different brand of journalist, call me controversial if you like,” he said.
Mr Victor Afetsi, a participant at the programme, told the Ghana News Agency after the event that it was “a well-organised and educative programme.”
He said he had learnt from the wisdom, words of encouragement and counsel of Mr Mannaseh Azure Awuni, who used his upbringing as an example to advise the youth not to allow their circumstances to define them.
“It was a delight seeing them for the first time,” he added.