PORT LOUIS. Moussa Ngom of La Maison Des Reporters and Laureline Savoye of Le Monde Afrique were this year's winners in the “Fact Check of the Year by a Working Journalist” category at the African Fact-Checking Awards ceremony held in Mauritius on 6 October.
The two Senegalese journalists were recognised for their work on the infiltration of security forces during political demonstrations in March 2021 and June 2023.
They showed that men in civilian clothes who used violence against demonstrators were not part of the country’s police or gendarmerie, nor were they demonstrators, as the authorities had claimed.
Ngom and Savoye's work made it possible to press the Senegalese government to launch an investigation, identify the men and stop the phenomenon before it caused more violence.
Claire Mom's work for Nigerian newspaper the Cable, investigating how fake anonymous Facebook accounts spread disinformation and incite violence, was runner-up in this category. The harmful work of these accounts intensified during the recently concluded election season in Nigeria, inflaming social tensions.
James Okong'o and Mary Kulundu of AFP Fact Check were the winners in the professional fact-checkers category. Their piece highlighted the risk to human rights after Kenyan police misidentified protesters on social media in an attempt to quell criticism of their March 2023 handling of demonstrations. The protests were called against the high cost of living and general elections in 2022. The police subsequently apologised.
Kemi Busari of the Nigerian fact-checking organisation Dubawa was runner-up in this category for his powerful work on popular but harmful herbal concoctions and the regulatory gaps that allow them to thrive.
Students Komagal Chocalingum, Georges Aurore and Permalloo Suhaasinee from the University of Mauritius were the runners-up in this category, for their focus on worker wages.
The awards ceremony was part of the Africa Facts Summit organised by Africa Check, which brought together 200 participants from fact-checking organisations, academia and technology giants.
The annual summit tackles emerging issues, such as artificial intelligence, belief systems in disinformation, and the future and growth of fact-checking on the continent.
For any queries contact Africa Check head of outreach Dudu Mkhize on [email protected]