With her story titled ‘’Street Stories’’ the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, GBC’s Dedicated and Hardworking Journalist Rebecca Ekpe picked the coveted Award as the 2017 Ghana Journalists Association, GJA Best Journalist in Human Rights Reporting (with focus on Child Protection). The GJA Awards Ceremony for the first time took place at the plush Gold Coast Kempinski Hotel in Accra.
The Eight Member Awards Committee Chaired by Communications Consultant, Dr. Doris Yaa Dartey concluded in a citation that the story ‘’showed the plight of young unprotected children in Ghana with the clever use of data and compelling narratives’’. The writer ‘’effectively captures the mood and emotions of the affected children in this revelatory broadcast’’. The Committee further stated that ‘’it is an excellent piece of Journalism that questions human rights as a potential threat to security, judging from its portrayal of street life’’. And therefore ‘’an impact story that deserves recognition’’.
When the story was first broadcast on Radio Ghana, a lot of interesting responses were received from ordinary Ghanaians. Some gave their views on what can be done about the plight of the children in the streets with proposals that government needs to do more. However, one question that stood out in the responses of the people was; ‘’where are their parents’’?
Head of GBC Radio News, Teye Kitcher described Rebecca’s ‘’Street Stories’’ as; a ”very touching report”.
Rebecca herself described the piece ‘’as a heart wrenching and an emotional story’’. She said while conducting the interviews in the streets she got almost overwhelmed with emotions at the unfolding stories. At a point Rebecca said she was ‘’almost chocking with lump in the throat, when she sought to find out why some parents choose to deny their children care and left them at the mercy and hazards of ‘street life”. More especially during the Christmas, where children traditionally had all the ”goodies”.
In an interview after the Awards and Dinner Night at the Kempinski Hostel, the visibly excited Rebecca thanked her family, mentors, friends and colleagues at the office for the support. But most especially a big thank you went to GBC’s Driver, ‘’Mr. Alex’’, whom she said drove her to work on the story early mornings of about 3am.
Rebecca Ekpe has a Communications/Media background with emphasis in Journalism, politics, elections democracy and citizens’ engagement. She has multiple years of experience researching, studying and working in the area of Journalism and media and Elections related advocacy projects. Her goal is to see that citizens’ voices matter and that democracy, which includes ”freedom of speech” works.
During Ghana’s 2016 Presidential Election, Rebecca served as a Media Analyst, closely with the Women’s Situation Room-(WSR) -a UNDP funded project and a peace building mechanism, which supported Ghanaian women to make their voices heard and to be in charge of ensuring the election was successful.
Rebecca is currently a Chief Editor (Manager), with Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, working in the areas of Editorial and reporting, advocacy; Coordinating special projects with a passion for change in areas such as Women, Children, basic education and local governance and democracy. She also spends time mentoring student journalists.
Rebecca has served in various capacities as Assistant Project Manager- M&E for the GBC/Star Ghana Project ”Ghana Wins Election 2016” which aimed at pushing for Credible, Transparent and Peaceful Elections in Ghana. She was also on the Research/Planning Team for the GBC’s Presidential Encounters/Debate 2016, aimed to seek accountability of Presidential Office Holders in the 2016 Election.
Rebecca has served on the Political Broadcast Committee of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, during Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in Ghana in 2012 and 2016.Tasked with the responsibility of producing a monitoring mechanism and using it to streamline political broadcasts of all political parties to ensure decency on the airwaves. Above all, tasked with the responsibility of holding a successful, free and fair general election (a constitutional mandate)
Besides, Rebecca has been involved with implementing other advocacy projects, from concept, to proposal writing and implementation to reporting results and beyond.
Rebecca is a multiple Ghanaian Journalist Award Winner who believes that her work must represent the voiceless and marginalized in society. Rebecca has International Media experience after stints with NPR in Washington DC; and Reuters of London. Rebecca holds a Master’s of Arts Degree in Journalism from the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas. USA. A Certificate in Senior Executive Program-Leading and Managing People, from the Center for Management Development, Ghana Institute of Management and Professional Administration (GIMPA) and a Certificate in Women’s Human Rights Leadership Education & Policy Advocacy Program from the ARK Foundation/OSIWA among others.
Story By: Mabel Adorkor Annang