Ghanaian Journalists win first African Fact-Checking Awards

Video journalist Edem Srem, Gifty Andoh Appiah and their team from  in Ghana were on 14 November 2014 named the winners of the first-ever African Fact-Checking Awards, set up and sponsored by the AFP Foundation, the media training arm of the AFP news agency, and Africa Check.

The winning entry, “ Trading Ghana’s Water for Gold ”, is a well-produced video that exposed misleading government claims to have eradicated the risky practice of alluvial gold mining in Ghana.

The two joint runners up were named as Paul Shalala of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, for a report on false claims made about the impact of multi-national mining investment on food security in his country, and Victor Amadala of the website  for a report debunking a superstition that leads parents to have the teeth of newborn babies removed.

The winners and runners up of the first African Fact-Checking Awards pose with their certificates at a meeting of the African Media Initiative (AMI) in Nairobi, Kenya 14 November 2014. From left to right, runner up Victor Amadala, AFP Foundation Director Robert Holloway, winner Edem Srem, Africa Check Director Peter Cunliffe-Jones, runner up Paul Shalala and African Media Initiative (AMI) CEO Eric Chinje. Photo: AFP /Tony Karumba Srem receives award

Srem received his award from Robert Holloway, chair of the Africa Check board and Director of the AFP Foundation.

The journalist told the audience at the ceremony of the challenges he and his team of video makers had faced in disproving government claims to have eradicated the practice of gold mining which is destroying many Ghanian rivers.

“I think there is nothing more important in journalism than holding people to account for the promises and the claims they make,” he said. “I am very honoured, on behalf of myself and my team to win this award for that work.”

First prize winner Edem Srem receives his certificate from Africa Check chair and AFP Foundation Director, Robert Holloway, at the ceremony in Nairobi. Photo: AFP/Tony Karumba. Entries from 10 countries across Africa

The entries were among more than 40 pieces of work submitted for these new awards by candidates from 10 countries across Africa – Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The winning team will receive a total of €2000 while each runner up will each receive €1000.

The awards were presented at a ceremony in Nairobi hosted by the Africa Media Initiative whose CEO, Eric Chinje, chaired the jury

“I hope this award serves as a call to excellence and integrity in journalism everywhere in Africa.  The jury readily identified entries that demonstrated a high level of professionalism and balance in reporting,” Chinje said. The shortlist of entries of finalists

Eight finalists were shortlisted for the prize from the more than 40 entries received. They were:

Theophilus Abbah, Terkula Igidi, Hamisu Matazu – Sunday Trust (Nigeria): “ Reopening Jonathan’s Bag of Many Promises  /  Jonathan’s N.163trn Road Projects Await Completion

Victor Amadala –  (Kenya): “ Doctors dispel myth of plastic teeth in babies

Phillip de Wet – Mail & Guardian (South Africa): “ In this microcosm of South Africa, President Zuma’s words ring false

IniEkott – Premium Times (Nigeria): “ Nigerian Senate’s resolution on Imo based on rumour; no evidence state planned IDs for Northerners

Med Dhia Hammami – (Tunisia): “ Enquête sur le gaz de schiste en Tunisie : des profondeurs du sous-sol tunisien aux paradis fiscaux !

Musikilu Mojeed – Premium Times (Nigeria): “ Aviation Minister Stella Oduah in fresh fake doctorate scandal  /  American education dept, university confirm Stella Oduah’s honorary Ph.D is fake

Paul Shalala – Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (Zambia): “The impact of Multi-National Mining Investment on Food Security in Zambia” ( article  and  accompanying video )

Edem Srem, Gifty Andoh Appiah, Nicolas Atta Addo, Ebenezer Tagoe and Eric Agbalekpor – (Ghana): “ Trading Ghana’s Water for Gold ” (video)

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