The Bush Chicken Tops Press Union Awards

PAYNESVILLE, Montserrado – The Press Union of Liberia has held its annual awards event, with reporters of The Bush Chicken topping the list of this year’s award recipients.

The event took place on Friday at the Paynesville City Town hall.

Each annual awards program, according to the union, is intended to identify and honor the work of journalists and media institutions that perform with distinction.

Two reporters of The Bush Chicken clinched a total of five awards from the theme-based categories, while another reporter for The Bush Chicken, Moses Bailey, won the Development Reporter of the Year award for work he did with Radio Gbarnga.
The Bush Chicken’s Zeze Ballah, who won the 2016 Photojournalist of the Year award, took that award again, along with the Health Reporter of the Year award. Gbatemah Senah was recognized as the Legislative Reporter, Land Rights Reporter, and Women’s Rights Reporter of the Year, giving him the highest number of honors at this year’s event.

Other winners included Moses Garzeawu of ELBC Radio as Extractive Industry Reporter of the Year, UNMIL Radio’s Tetee Geebro as Newscaster of the Year, Momoh Siryon of The News newspaper as Sports Reporter of the Year, Anthony Stevens of Power FM/TV as both Investigative Reporter and Environmental Reporter of the Year, and P. Nas Mulbah of New Democrat newspaper as Judicial Reporter of the Year.

The committee decided against giving the awards based on voting, including Journalist of the Year, Radio and TV stations of the Year, Newspaper of the Year, and Community Radio Station of the Year awards.

The five prizes are usually determined through voting by peers within the industry. Media institutions can nominate institutions or journalists for scrutiny by a select group of professionals who make up the PUL Awards Vetting Committee.
Jonathan Paye-layleh, the committee’s acting chairman, said nomination forms were given to media institutions to make nomination for honorees in the categories but the number of entries did not reach a significant number to allow a decision to be made.

Headed by former Radio Veritas manager Ade Wede Kerkulah, this year’s vetting committee said it received more than 50 entries for the individual categories.

“Along with the National Media Council, the PUL Excellence Awards are at the heart of the Union’s self-regulatory regime, which encourages journalists to remain ethical at all times in the discharge of their duties,” a release from the organization read.

According to the union, the annual awards night was largely funded by USAID through its Liberia Media Development project being managed by Internews. Other providers of prizes it says were UN Women, UNDP and WHO among others.
The event brought together journalists, media development partners, and government officials.

Featured photo by Lloyd Massah

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2018, he was also recognized as the Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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