Ms. Isatou Keita, Chairperson of the GPU National Journalism Awards Committee
By Landing Ceesay
The Gambia Press Union (GPU) Award Committee announced at a press conference that the National Journalism Awards will be held on December 16, 2023.
The National Journalism Awards are the highest and most prestigious journalism awards in The Gambia, organized annually by The Gambia Press Union. The awards ceremony honors and celebrates the courage and excellence of Gambian journalists across all types of news and information media, including print, online, radio, television, and photography.
“The awards constitute a pivotal component of GPU’s flagship activities, commemorating World Press Freedom Day annually on the 3rd of May. However, owing to logistical considerations and other challenges, the awards ceremony is typically held on an alternative date. In recent instances, it took place on the 3rd of September in 2021 and on the 2nd of December last year. For this year, preparations are underway to stage the event on the 16th of December.
“Eligibility for the awards extends to all Gambian journalists employed by registered Gambian-based media outlets and platforms. Works authored by Gambian journalists for international media sources are also eligible for consideration. Additionally, entries must have been produced between the 1st of January 2022 and the 31st of December 2022, and they must have been published in Gambian-registered media outlets,” Ms. Isatou Keita, Chairperson of the Awards Committee, told the media.
Ms. Keita informed the media that only original journalistic work is eligible for submission to the 2023 awards, excluding opinion pieces, advertorials, promotional content, and newsletter items or articles. The awards ceremony will feature 17 distinct categories to recognize outstanding journalistic achievements, in addition to the special GPU awards.
You Might Also Like
The categories are: Business and Finance Reporting Award, Sports Reporting Award, Environment Reporting Award, Investigative Reporting Award, Health & Medical Reporting Award, Women’s Reporting Award, Children’s Reporting Award, Travel and Tourism Reporting Award, Culture, Arts and Entertainment Reporting Award, Agriculture Reporting Award, Political Reporting Award, Human Rights Reporting Award, Legal Affairs Reporting Award, Photo Journalism Award, Journalist of the Year, Security Reporter of the Year, and Community/Rural Radio Reporter of the Year.
Ms. Keita said that her committee is nearly finished preparing to accept applications for the various award categories, and they hope to do so as soon as possible.
“Moreover, the awards committee is in the process of confirming a panel of judges consisting of independent media experts known for their unwavering integrity. Their names and detailed biographies will be promptly published on our website. These esteemed judges will be entrusted with the vital task of receiving and evaluating all entries, ultimately determining the most deserving recipients of the awards. In their assessment, the judges will consider the following criteria: Accuracy and Relevance Grammar, Style and Presentation, The Impact of the story; creativity; and originality,” she said.
Ms. Keita assured journalists that the judges selected by her committee will maintain complete independence in their roles, even as the committee finalizes the selection process. She said that the judges’ decisions and evaluations will remain untouched by any external influence, ensuring a fair and impartial process.
“In closing, we wish to clarify that this committee operates independently of the GPU and sustains its fundraising and financial activities autonomously. Therefore, we take this moment to extend our appeal to organizations, both public and private institutions, and other potential donors to generously support this year’s National Journalism Awards. At this juncture, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all donors who contributed to the success of the 2022 awards.
“As a dedicated committee, our mission revolves around acknowledging and commending excellence within journalism. Our aim is to celebrate and honor the impactful work that journalists undertake, while simultaneously nurturing a culture of excellence within the profession. We firmly believe that the contributions of journalists significantly enrich our democracy. Thus, we extend an earnest invitation to all to stand by our side in recognizing and inspiring Gambian journalists,” she stated.
Ms. Keita emphasized her committee’s commitment to nurturing meaningful dialogues and engagements in order to promote wider participation and support. She also urged journalists to stay connected through their official social media channels: Facebook @GPU Awards, Instagram @gpuawards, Twitter @GPU Awards, and by visiting their website at www.gpuawards.gm.
In line with its core mission of enhancing professional standards in the Gambian media landscape, the Gambia Press Union has been hosting the National Journalism Awards since 2016. This initiative is driven by the goal of motivating and energizing journalists to consistently strive for excellence in their respective fields.
This year’s awards committee comprises seven individuals: Ms. Isatou Keita as Chairperson of the Committee; Mr. Nfamara Jawneh as the Vice Chairperson of the Committee; Ms. Annette Camara as Communications and Brands; Mr. Buba Fatty and Ms. Therese Gomez as fundraising; Mrs. Mam Binta Njie as IT support for the website and other entries; and Mr. Alieu Ceesay as logistics.