AFP wins Fact-Check of the Year at African Awards

AFP digital investigation reporters Mary Kulundu and James Okong’o won the coveted “Fact-Check of the Year” award at the Africa Facts Summit, held in Mauritius on October 5-6.  

The pair, who were both in attendance, received the prize for their story about Kenyan police using unrelated images on their social media accounts to hunt down anti-government protesters after rallies turned violent in March 2023.  

The debunk prompted the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to withdraw the pictures from X, formerly known as Twitter, and issue a public apology. 

"Sometimes, fact-checking can seem like a very thankless task, but seeing our work recognised at the Africa Facts Summit shows that it has an impact beyond our home country,” said Mary Kulundu who joined AFP in Nairobi in 2018, making her one of the fact-checking team’s longest serving members. 

Last year, fellow Nairobian James Okong’o also took home the runner-up prize in the same category. 

“As soon as we started working on our story, I could feel that it was going to have a big impact. And it did because it compelled the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in Kenya to apologise,” said Okong’o. 

“I dedicate the win to the entire AFP Fact-Check Africa team for the good work that we continue to do together”, he added. 

The jury of the Africa Facts Summit also hailed the investigation’s significance in holding public figures accountable. 

“The competition was tight, but you had a good story that deservedly won the first prize,” said Angie Holan, the director of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). 

The 2023 edition of the Africa Facts Summit brought together more than 180 fact-checkers from 48 organisations from across the continent in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis.  

The event featured panel discussions with disinformation experts, academics and representatives from the IFCN, the Google News Initiative, the European Fact-Checking Standards Network (EFCSN), and the UK-based Full Fact organisation. 

For more information on the awards, see Africa Check’s website.