The number of entries for the 2012 annual Excellence in Journalism Tanzania Award (EJAT) has steadily increased to 946 from 772 recorded in 2011.
Addressing journalist yesterday in Dar es Salaam, the EJAT 2012 organising committee chairperson and Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), Kajubi Mukajanga said that in the past four years the number of entries has gradually increased, which marked substantial growth in the journalism profession.
Mukajanga said about 19 categories will be competed for, with new categories introduced, which include Agriculture and Agri- Business, Sexual and Reproductive Health for Young People and Best TV Camera person.
Among the 946 entries received, 660 entries were from print and 286 from electronic media, an improvement in the number of electronic media entries compared to last year.
However the number of women participation is 126 entries which is low, compared to 439 entries for men, he said, attributing this to lower number of women in media houses.
The awards, introduced in 2009 to recognize and reward excellence in journalism, have gained popularity as a coveted award event in the profession at the national level.
Mwananchi Communication Ltd has scored outstandingly by submitting 204 entries followed by The Guardian Ltd with 99 entries, Business Times Ltd with 91 entries and Tanzania Standard Newspapers with 78 entries since the competitions started.
In the case of electronic media, the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) is on top with 65 submissions, with Dar es Salaam topping other regions with 574 submissions for all media houses, followed by Arusha with 64 entries, Mwanza (55), Mbeya (35), Kagera (33) and Zanzibar (26), the coordinator elaborated.
MCT and its partners aimed at encouraging professionalism and ethical reporting in the media so as to explore the possibility of recognizing individuals and organizations who had contributed in various ways towards upholding and promoting press freedom, and the freedom of expression in general.
The 2012 EJAT Awards will be graced by retired president Ali Hassan Mwinyi at the Diamond Jubilee Hall on April 5.
On February 25 the organizing committee will meet under the chairmanship of chief judge Wenceslaus Mushi, a prominent editor in television and print media. Currently Mushi is chief sub-editor for The Guardian newspaper.
He will be assisted by nine other judges, including Edda Sanga, a nominee of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism 2011, so as to scrutinize the entries and select winners for the various categories.
One judge was added to make a panel of 10 judges instead of nine because of the new categories that were added in the list, including best TV Camera person.
This year’s categories comprise Business and Economy, Children, HIV/Aids, Malaria, Agriculture, People with Disabilities, Sports and Culture, Science and Technology, Gender, Good Governance and Education.
Other categories are Environment, Health, Disaster and conflicts, Tourism and Conservation and maternal health for young people, Photojournalism, along with Best Cartoonist.
“The new category aims at engaging journalists to submit entries that focus on either of the sub-categories that would provide them with opportunities to scoop the award,” he said
Media organizations collaborating with MCT include the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Tanzania Chapter (MISA-Tan), the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), Tanzania Sports Writers Association (TASWA), plus the Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT).
Others are the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), Hakielimu, African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF)- Tanzania, Association of Journalists Against Aids (AJAAT), BEST-AC and the Agricultural Non-State Forum (ANSAF).