Senior Reporter at The Fourth Estate, Seth J. Bokpe, has won the prestigious Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) award for Best Reporter in Democracy and Good Governance for the second consecutive year.
He is the first to win the coveted award after it was named after the legendary astute lawyer, human rights and press freedom advocate, the late Anthony Akoto Ampaw.
The GJA President, Albert Dwumfour, announced this during the awards ceremony that occurred on Sunday, October 29, 2023, at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Bokpe was one of 31 distinguished journalists and media outlets recognised for their exceptional contributions to journalism in 2022.
This year, the GJA media awards received 276 entries.
His award-winning story revealed a startling lack of compliance among Ghanaian politicians with the country’s Asset Declaration Law, Act 550.
The law, per the 1992 Constitution, mandates public office holders, including Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), Ministers, Members of Parliament, presidential staffers, judges, and heads of state institutions, to declare their assets within specific timeframes.
Article 286 (1) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that “a person who holds a public office mentioned in clause (5) of this Article shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all property or assets owned by, or liabilities owed by him whether directly or indirectly (a) within three months after the coming into force of this Constitution or before taking office, as the case may be, (b) at the end of every four years; and (b) at the end of his term of office.”
The exposé shed light on the widespread non-compliance of this Article by public officials, prompting a significant response.
Following the revelations made by The Fourth Estate, 294 political appointees hastily declared their assets and liabilities.
There was, thus, a notable surge in declarations among ministers, legislators, and heads of state institutions.
In particular, the investigation highlighted the lack of adherence to the law among MMDCEs, despite a presidential directive urging compliance.
The exposé acted as a catalyst, leading to increased awareness and subsequent adherence to the Asset Declaration Law among various categories of public officeholders.
Between May and November 2022, there were unprecedented asset declarations made in response to The Fourth Estate’s series, which began in May 2022, focusing on the compliance of public officeholders with the law.
These publications were founded on the list of a minimal number of public officials who had disclosed their assets. The Fourth Estate acquired this list through a Right To Information request submitted to the Audit Service in March 2022.
Reacting to his award, Seth J. Bokpe expressed his excitement about the recognition and pledged to continue breaking barriers in investigative journalism.
“What excites me about this award is that beyond the impact the story made, I’ve also been personally recognised for it. It fuels my passion for promoting democratic values, anti-corruption, and good governance further,” said Bokpe.
Edward Adeti also won Crime and Court Reporter of the Year.
His story titled, Torture on Gallows: The gruesome ordeal of a Kassena-Nankana Farmer chronicled a harrowing incident at Yua, a border community in Northern Ghana, where a man named Atanga Ayamga was tortured by a mob on suspicion of grave desecration. Accused without evidence, Atanga was tied to improvised gallows, savagely whipped, and left to die.
The attackers intended to kill him to prevent him from reporting the torture. Despite surviving the ordeal, Atanga’s hand was left paralysed, impacting his livelihood. The attackers attempted to cover their crime by consulting shrines in Ghana and Burkina Faso, both of which declared Atanga innocent. Thirteen individuals, including the local assembly member, were arrested and faced charges, but some suspects remained at large, prompting calls for justice in the community.
The GJA media awards celebrate, acknowledge, and recognise the pivotal role of journalists in fostering good governance in all facets of the lives of Ghanaians.
Erastus Asare Donkor of the Multimedia Group Limited was crowned the 2022 GJA Journalist of the Year for his outstanding dedication and commitment to protecting the country’s environment through his reportage.
This year’s ceremony was on the theme, Leveraging media freedom to sustain the democratic and security architecture: The litmus test of Election 2024.
Full List of Awardees at GJA 2023 Media Awards:
- Anthony Adongo Apubeo (GNA) – Education
- Beatrice Senadju (GBC) – Health
- Della Russel Ocloo (Daily Graphic) – Agric & food security
- Vivian Adu (Atinka Media) – Gender
- Newsfile (Joy FM) – Radio Programme (English)
- Fred Duhoe (CitiTV) – News (Television)
- Akua Oforiwa Darko (GBC) – Environment & Science
- Gifty Adjei (GBC) – Features (TV)
- Alberto Mario Noretti (The Mirror) – News (Print)
- Seth Bokpe (The Fourth Estate) – Democracy and Good Governance
- Emma Davies (MultiMedia Group) – Business/economics
- Mohammed Fugu (Daily Graphic) – Domestic Tourism
- Kweku Bolton (GBC) – Arts & Entertainment
- Francisca Enchill (Joynews, Freelance) – Investigative Journalist
- Edward Adeti (The Fourth Estate/Media without Borders) – Crime/Court
- Erastus Asare Donkor (Multimedia Group) – Illegal Mining (TV)
- Emmanuel Dzivenu (Joy Prime) – Disability
- Eric Mensah-Ayettey (Myjoyonline) – Columnist
- Efia Akese (The Mirror) – Features (Print)
- Kester Aburam Korankye (Daily Graphic) – Road safety
- Daily Graphic – Newspaper layout
- Efisem (Atinka Media) – Radio Programme (Gh Language)
- Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman (EIB network) – Feature (Radio)
- Felix Dela Klutse (Pent Media Centre) – Features (online)
- Neta Kris Abiana Parsram (Multimedia Group) – Most promising journalist
- Doreen Ampofo (GBC) – Documentary (Radio)
- Godwin Asediba (Media General) – Documentary (TV)
- Collincia Ayifa (via Multimedia Group) – Student journalist (UCC)
- Critical Issues – UTV (TV Programme, Gh Language)
- Media General – TV Programme (English)
- P.A.V Ansah Journalist of the year, 2022 – Erastus Asare Donkor (Multimedia Group)