– Ghanaian journalists will again compete for the best article published in the local print media covering biodiversity issues as part of the "Biodiversity Reporting Award" hosted by Conservation International (CI). The contest was launched at the Teacher's Complex in Accra this Friday and representatives of all major media houses attended the event.
This year's grand winner will attend the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) in October 2002, in Baltimore, MD, USA. Second and third prize-winners will receive a cash award of ¢2,000,000 and ¢1,000,000, as well as a two-year membership to the International Federation of Environmental Journalists (IFEJ), and a professional resource kit from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).
Vivian Baah, of the League of Environmental Journalists, was the winner of last year's contest with the article "Guess What's Cooking for Dinner?" In October 2001, Baah participated in the 9th World Congress of Environmental Journalists, held in Lage-Hörste, Germany. "I feel the institution of the award has sparked enthusiasm among fellow journalists at home to investigate and produce more stories on the environment," said Baah who was honored in an official ceremony during the congress. Second and third prize-winners were Dzifa Azumah and Joachim Ayitey with articles published in The Evening News.
"This initiative has been an important support to protect our national treasures particularly raising awareness about the negative impact that bushmeat trade can have on our biodiversity and national economy", says Okyeame Ampadu-Agyei, Country Director, CI-Ghana.
"Many people do not understand the closes ties between human activities and the environment because they have inaccurate or insufficient information" says Professor Dominic Fubih, Minister of Environment and Science. "There is a need to increase people's involvement in conservation."
The "Biodiversity Reporting Award" in Ghana is an initiative of CI in collaboration with ICFJ and IFEJ to recognize the work of journalists covering the environment and stimulate their continued efforts. Articles on issues such as scientific research and findings, ecotourism development, and other economic alternatives to the destruction of biodiversity, as well as the threats to the conservation of Ghana's natural heritage, are all invited to participate in the contest.
"Last year a total of 179 articles, written by 88 journalists in six countries, were part of the Award. We are expecting for 2002 a much higher number of entries", says Haroldo Castro, Executive Director of the Award, who came to Accra to launch the second round. This is the fourth year of this international contest and five other countries - Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and Peru - are participating in it.
Both staff and freelance journalists may submit up to four entries in the contest. All articles must have been published in Ghanaian newspapers and magazines between June 1, 2001 and May 31, 2002. The deadline for entries is June 5, 2002.
A jury comprised of five people, including representatives of IFEJ and ICFJ, will review the articles and select the winners. All articles will be reproduced in the home page of the contest, located at www.conservation.org/award/journalism