After receiving 130 entries from 22 countries – showing great growth from 2014 and 2015 – the judges selected a winner from Côte d’Ivoire (Francophone African media) and one from Cameroon (Anglophone media) as well as runners-up from Swaziland and Nigeria.
- Francophone media: Anderson Diédri, The Ivorian State plunders 11,000 hectares of land in Famienkro, Eburnietoday.com, Côte d’Ivoire
- Anglophone media: Arison Tamfu, The Many Falsehoods in President Biya’s Laptop Gift to University Students, Cameroon Journal, Cameroon
- Phathizwe Mongezi Zulu, Lies, public money and a redone DC-9 in Swaziland, AmaBhungane and GroundUp websites, Swaziland
- Dayo Oketola, NigComSat-1R becoming white elephant four years after – investigation, Punch Newspaper, Nigeria
Anderson Diédri, of the website Eburnietoday.com, was named the winner of the top fact-checking award for Francophone media, for a report exposing as false claims made by the government of Côte d’Ivoire in a land dispute in the country’s centre.
The award for Anglophone media went to Arison Tamfu, of the Cameroon Journal, for a report revealing that claims by the country’s President Paul Biya to have gifted laptops to “each student of a public or private university in Cameroon” were false.
The runners-up were Swazi journalist Phathizwe Mongezi Zulu, for a report for South Africa’s AmaBhungane and GroundUp websites on a plane acquired by King Mswati III, and Dayo Oketola, of Punch Newspaper in Nigeria, for a report into the claims of a publicly-funded communications satellite operator.
The two winners each received a first prize of USD$2,000, while the runners took home a prize of USD$1,000 each. The awards, hosted again this year by the African Media Initiative (AMI), were sponsored by the AFP news agency and the philanthropic Shuttleworth Foundation.
The growth in entries underscores the increased interest by journalists in fact-checking:
“In a year when fact-checking has been in the news around the world, the standard of entries has been higher than ever; our winning entries show why it is so important that journalists do not just report what public figures say, but question their claims and expose those that are not true.” – Africa Check executive director, Peter Cunliffe-Jones
After receiving entries in 2015 from more than 50 journalists in 15 countries, the jury selected a winner from Nigeria and two runners-up from South Africa.
- Ben Ezeamalu, Premium Times, Nigeria
- Phillip de Wet, Mail & Guardian, South Africa
- Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Rapport/City Press, South Africa
Our winner, 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 legislation relating to the age of consent in Nigeria.
Speaking after picking up his award, Ezeamalu said: “Fact-checking is a really important form 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.
In our inaugural year, we received entries from more than 40 journalists across 10 countries and the jury named a two-person team of independent film-makers from Ghana as winners, with entrants from Zambia and Kenya as runners-up.
- Edem Srem & Gifty Andoh Appiah, independent film-makers, Ghana
- Paul Shalala, ZNBC, Zambia
- Victor Amadala, Kenyakidz.com, Kenya
Speaking to Africa Check at the award ceremony, Edem said that the awards were a reminder of what is most important in journalism. “I think there is nothing more important in journalism than holding people to account for the promises and the claims they make,” he said.
Edem and Gifty won for their film “Trading Ghana’s Water for Gold” which exposed misleading government claims to have eradicated the risky practice of alluvial gold mining in Ghana.
Paul Shalala of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation was first runner-up for a report on false claims made about the impact of multi-national mining investment on food security in his country.
In addition to picking up the cheque for their work, Edem and Gifty’s film was then, as a result of winning the awards, shown at a film festival in Ghana, and the showing was followed up by a public debate about the safety of the country’s water systems. And Paul Shalala was invited to address an important conference in Mozambique on the impact of mining on the host communities in southern Africa.