The Africa Facts summit held in Nairobi, Kenya concluded with the African Fact-Checking Awards on Thursday 10 November 2022, with fact checkers from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Mauritius taking top honours.
Kunle Adebajo from HumAngle in Nigeria was announced as the winner of the award for Fact Check of the Year by a Working Journalist. He reported on a collage of images shared on Twitter, said to prove the existence of US-sponsored bio-laboratories in Nigeria and connected to a monkeypox outbreak earlier in 2022. Adebajo found that the laboratories pictured in the graphic shared by the Russian government were not secret facilities. They were set up to contain outbreaks of diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/Aids, Ebola and Covid-19.
The runner-up in this category was Kabir Yusuf from Nigerian newspaper the Premium Times, who investigated claims made by president Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari made these in a written response to questions posed by news agency Bloomberg, saying that his administration was leaving Nigeria in a “far better place than [they] found it” seven years earlier, in 2015. While significant progress had been made in the northeast of the country, Yusuf found Buhari had, largely, failed to keep his promise of “securing” Nigeria.
Fact checker Jonas Nyabor from fact-checking outfit Dubawa Ghana was announced as the winner of the new category, Fact Check of the Year by a Professional Fact Checker. He won for his report on a Twitter campaign that trended in Ghana under the hashtag #JusticeForAlbert. The campaign demanded “justice” for a young man who had reportedly died two days after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. Nyabor found that the campaign appeared to be a genuine call by friends and sympathisers of the deceased, Albert Owusu, but the hashtag was hijacked by accounts that appeared to be part of a coordinated operation to discredit Covid-19 vaccines.
James Okong'o from AFP Fact Check was the runner-up in this category for his report on a post that claimed the leader of the Wiper Democratic Movement Kenya (WDM-K), Kalonzo Musyoka, had made a series of demands before accepting any ministerial role, including a new residence and a retirement package. Okong’o found this and other similar graphics to be fabricated, created with one purpose in mind – to deceive Kenyan voters.
In the category of Fact Check of the Year by a Student, journalism students Vidyasharita Bumma, Kokeelavani Mauree and Sachita Gobeen of the University of Mauritius were announced as the winners. They fact-checked claims published in an article about vaccinating children against Covid-19, which included statements from an anti-vaxxer group “No Vax for Kids” and their spokesperson Alain Sheraton. The students showed that existing research disproved the claim that the Covid vaccines produced toxic spike proteins.
The runner-up in this category, Elizabeth Henri-Héloïse from the University of Mauritius, fact-checked claims made by the Mauritian prime minister Pravind Jugnauth. He was reported to have said that despite the fuel price having increased by 140%, the country had only hiked pump prices by 68%. Henri-Héloïse could find no publicly available evidence for the “140%” figure, even on the State Trading Corporation’s own website.
“The African Fact-Checking Awards continue to honour the outstanding work being done by African fact-checkers. We received more than 190 entries from 24 countries this year and we continue to see a rise in the quality of entries. We believe that by witnessing their colleagues being honoured at the event, many fact-checkers will be motivated to continue fact-checking and to improve the quality of their work,” said Africa Check head of outreach Dudu Mkhize.
The winners of the working journalist and professional fact-checker categories received prizes of US$3,000. The runners-up received $1,500. The winner of the student journalist category was awarded $2,000, and the runner-up $1,000.
Click here for more information about the awards.
Africa Check is a non-profit organisation set up in 2012 to promote accuracy in public debate and the media in Africa. The goal of our work is to raise the quality of information available to society across the continent.
For more information, send an email to [email protected] or contact Africa Check's head of outreach Dudu Mkhize on 076 694 9902.