By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK A record 154 entries were received from Namibian journalists for this year’s Media Institute for Southern Africa (Misa) awards. This was disclosed yesterday at a news briefing by Ferdinand Tjombe, whose company is organizing the event. The guest speaker at the gala event on Friday evening will be the newly appointed Director General of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation, Bob Kandetu, it was also announced. “We have a very open and transparent way of judging the entries by independent judges, elected by the Misa board. The judges have been selected on the grounds of their standing in society and their professional abilities,” said Tjombe, who however did not want to divulge the names of the judges. His consulting company, NSEP, has been contracted for three years to organize the Misa Awards, he informed the press. “This year’s entries in various categories are double the number of the last time the Misa Awards were held in 2004, showing the growing interest, importance and popularity of the event among the local media. However, the awards ceremony can only be staged with the help of local sponsorship such as that of Bank Windhoek, the main sponsor this year,” said Tjombe. He appealed to other corporate entities to contribute towards organizing the awards on an annual basis. “More assistance is needed from the corporate world because these awards are important for our country’s democratic survival, too. The scope we are covering now is not fifty percent of what we should be covering in the different categories. We also intend fine-tuning the whole category format to suit the specific needs of the media in our country,” Tjombe indicated. He promised that a survey among the local media would be done on how to effectively improve the Misa Awards. “”We would like to encourage all media houses in the country to become involved in this noble media recognition and acknowledgement exercise through which we hope the quality of journalism can be positively improved. The event is after all open to all media in the country, though some corporate institutions prefer only sponsoring specific categories, trying to push their own products. The awards should be supported and sponsored in totality,” Tjombe urged. Bank Windhoek has sponsored the event with an amount of N$23 000, which includes a number of trophies to the category winners of Business Journalist of the Year and the Journalist of the Year Award. “The media is one of the tools used in ensuring effective communication. Accordingly, good media relations are invaluable to Bank Windhoek because successful relationships are based on the principle of mutual benefit,” said Marlize Horn, Senior Manager of Marketing and Corporate Communication Services of Bank Windhoek while addressing the local press yesterday. According to Horn, journalists carry a serious responsibility on behalf of the society. “Journalists serve as the public’s eyes and ears, to be watchdogs on public and private institutions doing the public’s business. They continuously seek the truth, putting it in perspective and publishing it so that people can conduct their affairs accordingly. Bank Windhoek strives to contribute and encourage journalists to deliver quality reporting that will lead to the improvement of our country and the lives of all Namibian citizens,” said Horn who announced that her bank would become a consistent sponsor of the MISA Awards in future. Executive member of Misa Robin Tyson thanked Bank Windhoek for its N$23 000 sponsorship. The Misa Awards will take place on Friday evening at the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino.
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