The winner of the 2015 African Fact-Checking Awards, Benjamin Ezeamalu (middle), with Robert Holloway, director of the AFP Foundation, Anim van Wyk and Assane Diagne, editors of Africa Check, and Peter Cunliffe-Jones, executive director of Africa Check. Photo: AFP/KAREL PRINSLOO

Benjamin Ezeamalu, a journalist with the Nigerian online news site Premium Times, won the African Fact-Checking Awards 2015 for a report exposing as false claims made about Nigerian legislation relating to the age of consent.

Africa Check’s executive director, Peter Cunliffe-Jones, said Ezeamalu’s entry won because “it was a great piece of fact-checking, taking a claim on a sensitive topic – the age of consent in Nigeria – and clinically, carefully examining the evidence to show it was false.”

Speaking after picking up his award, which comes with a prize worth 2,000 euros, Ezeamalu said: “I would like to thank Africa Check for this award. Fact checking is a really important of journalism. It is necessary that as journalists we hold public figures to account for what they say.”

The two runners-up prizes went to South African journalists: Phillip de Wet of the Mail & Guardian and Pieter-Louis Myburgh from the Sunday newspapers Rapport/City Press.

De Wet won for fact-checking claims related to a controversy around spending on the home of President Jacob Zuma, and comparisons with the late former President Nelson Mandela. Myburgh won for a report debunking the claim that the controversial trains bought by PRASA were compliant with all South African railway regulations.

The awards, which are co-sponsored by the non-profit media training arm of the AFP news agency, attracted entries this year from media in 15 countries from Egypt to Ivory Coast, and from Kenya to South Africa.

The African Fact-Checking Awards were launched in 2014 when they were won by Edem Srem of Ghana, and runners-up Paul Shalala of Zambia and Victor Amadala from Kenya.

The shortlist also included entries from:

  • Francesca Phiri & Charity Mbozi, from Muvi Television in Zambia
  • Jospehat Kioko, from Baraka FM Radio in Kenya
  • Leanne George, from Netwerk24/Beeld in South Africa
  • Steven Kwetey Nartey, from TV Africa, in Ghana

Entries for the 2016 awards will open in April next year. To find out about when they open, subscribe to our emails and follow us on Twitter @AfricaCheck.