This is the first year of the African Fact-Checking Awards, launched and co-sponsored by Africa Check and the AFP Foundation – the non-profit media training arm of the AFP news agency – to honour the best pieces of investigative fact-checking work across Africa this year.

AFP CEO and Foundation chair Emmanuel Hoog

Emmanuel Hoog, Chairman of the AFP Foundation and CEO of its parent organisation, the AFP news agency, explained the AFP Foundation’s support for the awards saying:

“Checking the accuracy of what public figures say, and not simply parroting their words, is a fundamental of good journalism. “It is also essential for democracies to function properly, that claims made in the public domain be held up to scrutiny and checked openly and impartially. Journalists, working to a 24-hour news cycle, know this is not easy. That is why it is important to honour those who do this vital work, taking the claims that public figures make, and checking the evidence which supports, as well as that which undermines, them.”

Eric Chinje, CEO of the African Media Initiative.Eric Chinje, CEO of the African Media Initiative (AMI), a board member of Africa Check, and chair of the judges, explained the importance of fact-checking in journalism.

“Media has a critical role to play in Africa’s emergence and the credibility of the media message is fundamental to that role. This demands fairness, balance and factual reporting. At the heart of it all is that all-important but often challenging ‘fact-checking’,” he said.

More than 40 entries from 10 countries

By the close of entries at midnight on 31 August 2014, we had received more than 40 entries for the awards from journalists in 10 countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The organisers would like to thank all those who entered for the awards, making it a very successful first year of the prize, and encourage them and others to consider entering again next year.

After careful consideration, the organisers have agreed the following shortlist of eight entriesthat will now be considered by an independent jury of eminent European and African journalists.

The shortlist of entries sent to the jury

The shortlisted entries are as follows, listed by alphabetical order.

  1. Theophilus Abbah, Terkula Igidi, Hamisu Matazu – Sunday Trust (Nigeria): “Reopening Jonathan’s Bag of Many Promises / Jonathan’s N.163trn Road Projects Await Completion
  1. Victor Amadala – (Kenya): “Doctors dispel myth of plastic teeth in babies
  1. Phillip de Wet – Mail & Guardian (South Africa): “In this microcosm of South Africa, President Zuma’s words ring false
  1. IniEkott – Premium Times (Nigeria): “Nigerian Senate’s resolution on Imo based on rumour; no evidence state planned IDs for Northerners
  1. Med Dhia Hammami – (Tunisia): “Enquête sur le gaz de schiste en Tunisie : des profondeurs du sous-sol tunisien aux paradis fiscaux !
  1. 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
  1. Paul Shalala – Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (Zambia): “The impact of Multi-National Mining Investment on Food Security in Zambia” (article and accompanying video)
  1. Edem Stem, Gifty Andoh Appiah, Nicolas Atta Addo, Ebenezer Tagoe and Eric Agbalekpor – (Ghana): “Trading Ghana’s Water for Gold” (video)

A winner and runners-up to be announced in Nairobi

The names of the winner and two runners up will be announced at a Forum on Media Strategies due to take place in Nairobi in mid-November.

The Forum, which is being organised by the African Media Initiative, will bring together leaders of media organisations from around Africa, training institutions, owners and editors.

For more news on the awards and for details of entries for the 2015 edition, don’t forget to follow @AFP_Foundation and @AfricaCheck on Twitter and watch the website.