The winners of the sixth annual African Fact-Checking Awards were announced at Wits University in Johannesburg on Tuesday 29 October 2019 during the African Investigative Journalism Conference.

Odinaka Anudu won the award for Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist for his investigative work published in the Business Day newspaper in Nigeria, while Souleymane Diassy from Dakar, Senegal, walked away with the Fact-Check of the Year by a Student award (see links to the winning entries below).

The African Fact-Checking Awards are the only awards that each year honour journalism by Africa-based media in the growing field of fact-checking.

The awards continue to grow. In 2019, we received a total of 153 entries from more than 20 countries all across the continent – from Ethiopia, Nigeria and Senegal to Egypt, South Africa and Zimbabwe. In our inaugural year, 2014, we received entries from about 40 journalists across 10 countries.

Africa Check executive director Noko Makgato says fact-checking is a vital element of journalism in Africa.

“We operate in countries where information is not freely available. When it is available, it is of a questionable quality prone to influence the citizenry. We need citizens to be recipients of verified, quality information so they can make informed decisions about their lives.”

Makgato adds: “The objective of the awards is to encourage journalists to engage in fact-checking, a sorely needed key element of journalism missing in Africa. We are hoping to develop this further with more journalists taking up fact-checking.”

In 2019, the categories included:

  • Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist
  • Fact-Check of the Year by a Student
  • One runner-up in each of the two categories above

Entries should have exposed a claim on an important topic made by a public figure or institution in Africa as misleading or incorrect.

The winner of the award for best fact-checking report by a working journalist won a prize of $2,000, while the runner-up was awarded $1,000. The winner of the award for best fact-checking report by a journalism student received $1,000, while the runner-up’s prize money amounted to $500.

2019 winners and runners-up

Working journalist category
Winner Odinaka Anudu BDSunday, Nigeria Ongoing projects in South East: Truth vs lies” 
Runner-up Oluwamayowa Tijani AFP Fact Check Nigeria A minister claimed that Nigeria has ‘more than enough’ doctors. In fact, there’s a huge shortage” 

 

Student journalist category
Winner Souleymane Diassy CESTI –  Centre d’Etudes des Sciences et Techniques de l’Information, Senegal « Santé : Kolda a-t-elle le plus grand ratio de mortalité maternelle au Sénégal ? » 
Runner-up Dieynaba Thiombane CESTI – Centre d’Etudes des Sciences et Techniques de l’Information, Senegal « Santé : Le taux de prévalence du VIH/Sida est-il passé de 18 à 20% entre 2014 et 2017 chez les homosexuels au Sénégal ? »  

Criteria

  • Best fact-checking report by a working journalist

To be eligible, the entry must be an original piece of fact-checking journalism by a media house based in Africa. The work may be published in print or online, broadcast on the radio or television or published in a blog. 

  • Best fact-checking report by a student journalist

To be eligible, the candidate must attend a journalism school in Africa. The entry must be an original piece of fact-checking journalism, produced as course work or first published or broadcast in a blog, student publication or by a media house based in Africa. The work may be published in print or online, broadcast on the radio or television, or published in a blog.

Any reports published by Africa Check are not eligible for the competition. Candidates can only enter for the awards in one category per year, but can submit more than one report if they choose to do so.

The judging process

Entries are judged based on the following four criteria:

  • The significance for wider society of the claim investigated
  • How the claim was tested against the available evidence
  • How well the piece presented the evidence for and against the claim
  • The impact that the publication had on public debate on the topic

Sponsor

The African Fact-Checking Awards are sponsored by Absa.