Journalists from Kenya and Benin took the top prizes at this year’s African Fact-Checking Awards in Johannesburg on Saturday, November 18th
Dorothy Otieno from Kenya’s Nation Media Group won the top fact-checking award for anglophone African media for a pre-election series entitled “Before you vote” that checked claims made by politicians in the run-up to the recent vote.
The award for francophone African media went to Alexandra Djotan of Radio Parakou for a podcast that checked a Beninese minister’s claim that the state had no obligation in clearing public spaces and removing illegal squatters.
The runners-up were: Arison Tamfu of Cameroon Journal, a previous winner, for a report that checked whether president Paul Biya has delivered on his 2011 election promises; and Ivorian Nesmon de Laure Pie of poleafrique.info for a piece that fact-checked French President Emmanuel Macron’s claim that Africa’s high birth rate is to blame for poverty on the continent.
The winner of the inaugural student category was Moussa Ngom, who is at the Centre d'Etudes des Sciences et Techniques de l'Information (CESTI) in Senegal, for a report that refuted Macron’s claim on African birth rates.
The two first prize winners each took home USD$2,000 while the runners-up were awarded USD$1,000 each. The winner of the student category picked up USD$500.
The awards, co-hosted this year with the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN), were sponsored by the AFP news agency and the philanthropic Shuttleworth Foundation.
The head of the jury was Eric Chinje, president of the Nairobi-based African Media Initiative.
Speaking at the ceremony, Africa Check’s Executive Director Peter Cunliffe-Jones said: “These awards are now in their fourth year and we have seen a record number of entries from journalists in 25 countries, and a standard of entries that just keeps on rising. It shows how far and fast this new form of journalism is spreading.”
A total of 159 entries were received for the 2017 edition.
Africa Check will announce details of the 2018 awards, which are for working and student journalists, early next year.