Reporters from Ivory Coast and Cameroon took the top prizes in this year’s African Fact-Checking Awards.
Anderson Diédri, of the website Eburnietoday.com, was named the winner of the top fact-checking award for francophone African media, for a report exposing as false claims made by the government of Cote d’Ivoire in a land dispute in the country’s centre.
The award for English-language media went to Arison Tamfu of the Cameroon Journal, for a report revealing that claims by the country’s President Paul Biya to have gifted laptops to “each student of a public or private university in Cameroon” were false.
The runners-up, named by organisers Africa Check, the continent’s leading independent fact-checking organisation, in a ceremony in Nairobi on Thursday, were Swazi journalist Phathizwe Mongezi Zulu, for a report for South Africa’s AmaBhungane and GroundUp websites on a plane acquired by King Mswati III, and Dayo Oketola, of Punch Newspaper in Nigeria, for a report into the claims of a publicly-funded communications satellite operator.
The two winners each picked up a first prize of USD$2,000, while the runners take home a prize of USD$1,000 each. The awards, hosted again this year by the African Media Initiative (AMI), were sponsored by the AFP news agency and the philanthropic, Shuttleworth Foundation.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Africa Check’s Executive Director, Peter Cunliffe-Jones, thanked the sponsors, and hosts, and the four-person jury headed by AMI CEO, Eric Chinje, and said: “In a year when fact-checking has been in the news around the world, the standard of entries has been higher than ever; our winning entries show why it is so important that journalists do not just report what public figures say, but question their claims and expose those that are not true.”
Mr. Cunliffe-Jones also announced that for 2017’s edition of the awards, a new category has been created for the best fact-checking report published by a student journalist at a college, with a top prize of USD$500.
“Events around the world this year have shown that fact-checking is becoming an essential skill for any mainstream journalist to acquire, he said.
“And we hope that journalism schools around the continent will want to enter their students for these important awards.”
A total of 130 entries were received from journalists in 22 countries for the awards in 2016.
Details of the 2017 awards, for working and student journalists, will be announced by Africa Check early in 2017.
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