Entries for the 2021 African Fact-Checking Awards, the longest-running awards programme that honours fact-checking journalism by the media in Africa, are now open. Journalists and journalism students across the continent can enter the awards, now in their eighth year.
We received a record number of 192 entries from 27 African countries in 2020 and expect this number to rise again this year.
“Through the awards, we want to promote the practice of fact-checking and making accurate information available to citizens of all countries across Africa, which is now more important than ever,” says Noko Makgato, executive director at Africa Check.
"This, we believe, will help the public make informed decisions about important issues related to their health, education, politics and more. Ultimately, we expect that this will strengthen democracy and improve the quality of life across the continent."
To qualify, the entry must be an original piece of fact-checking journalism first published or broadcast on any date from 23 August 2020 to 31 July 2021, by a media- or independent fact-checking organisation based in Africa. The work may be published in print or online, broadcast on the radio or television or published in a blog.
In the student category, the entry must be an original piece of fact-checking journalism first published or broadcast in a blog, student publication or by a media- or independent fact-checking organisation based in Africa.
Entries should expose a claim on an important topic that originated in or is relevant to Africa as misleading or wrong.
What counts as a fact-checking report?
If you are thinking about entering the African Fact-Checking Awards, a word of advice: don’t send us a traditional news report.
Great traditional reporting is important but what we are looking for is a great piece of fact-checking journalism.
The categories include:
Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist
Fact-Check of the Year by a Student Journalist
One runner-up in each of the two categories above
The winner of the working journalist category will get a prize of US$3,000, while the runner-up will be awarded $1,500. The winner of the student journalist category will get a prize of $2,000, and the runner-up $1,000.
Candidates can only enter for the awards in one category per year, but can submit more than one report if they choose. Students must have attended a journalism school at some period 23 August 2020 to 31 July 2021 and be younger than 35.
Reports published by Africa Check are not eligible for the competition.
Entries will be judged based on the following criteria:
The significance for wider society of the claim/statement investigated. How much does the topic matter to society at large and how serious could the consequences be if the claim wasn't fact-checked?
How was the claim tested against the available evidence? Fact-checkers must take a long, hard look at the claim/statement that was made. Fact-checking entails rigorously sifting through the publicly available evidence for and against the claim. This should be done in a way that is fair to the person or institution who made the claim and strict in assessing the evidence.
How well does the piece present the evidence for and against the claim? A good fact-checking report is structured in such a way that it's understandable and makes the topic accessible to the widest possible public.
The impact that the fact-check had on public debate on the topic. Did it lead to a correction, did it have significant reach, or was it shared by other organisations or members of the media, for instance?
To gain a better understanding of what is considered a fact-checking report, have a look at the winning entries from previous years below.
Entries close at midnight GMT on 1 August 2021.
We received a record number of 192 entries from 27 African countries in 2020.
- Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist: Taiwo Adebulu “FACT CHECK: Nigeria told UN that 7 varsities run strictly on renewable energy, but is this true?”
- Fact-Check of the Year by a Student Journalist: Marième Fatou Dramé “Une organisation féministe publie des informations trompeuses sur les jeunes filles sénégalaises ( absentéisme scolaire, gestion des règles)”
- Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist: Aisha Abdool Karim “The coronavirus ‘vaccine’ Ekurhuleni wants to import doesn’t exist”
- Fact-Check of the Year by a Student Journalist: Oluwaseye Ogunsanya “Did Nigeria’s Minister Of Education Announce Resumption of Schools On September 7?”
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.
- Best fact-checking report by a working journalist: Odinaka Anudu, BDSunday, “Ongoing projects in South East: Truth vs lies”, Nigeria
- Best fact-checking report by a student journalist: Souleymane Diassy, CESTI – Centre d’Etudes des Sciences et Techniques de l’Information, « Santé : Kolda a-t-elle le plus grand ratio de mortalité maternelle au Sénégal ? », Senegal
- Best fact-checking report by a working journalist: Oluwamayowa Tijani, AFP Fact Check, “A minister claimed that Nigeria has ‘more than enough’ doctors. In fact, there’s a huge shortage”, Nigeria
- Best fact-checking report by a student journalist: Dieynaba Thiombane, CESTI – Centre d’Etudes des Sciences et Techniques de l’Information, « Santé : Le taux de prévalence du VIH/Sida est-il passé de 18 à 20% entre 2014 et 2017 chez les homosexuels au Sénégal ? », Senegal
We received over 150 entries from more than 20 countries, from Ethiopia, Nigeria and Egypt to South Africa and Zimbabwe.
- Best fact-checking report by a working journalist: Chikezie Omeje, International Centre For Investigative Reporting (ICIR), “FACT CHECK: Did Nigeria record a reduction in preschool enrolment?”, Nigeria
- Best fact-checking report by a student journalist: Moussa Ngom, CESTI, “Dakar n’est pas la deuxième ville au monde la plus polluée”, Senegal
- Best fact-checking report by a working journalist: Jason Norwood-Young, Daily Maverick, “#CapeWaterGate: The figures prove that Capetonians are saving water”, South Africa
- Best fact-checking report by a student journalist: Ibraheem Alawode, Dubawa, “Does Nigeria Have The Highest Number Of Out-Of-School Children In The World?”, Nigeria
In 2017, we received a record number of applications – 159 entries from 25 countries – from Ethiopia and Egypt in the north to South Africa and Zimbabwe in the south, before entries closed on 31 August.
- Best fact-checking report by a working journalist (English-language): Dorothy Otieno (on behalf of Nation Newsplex Team), Before you vote, Nation Media Group, Kenya
- Best fact-checking report by a working journalist (French-language): Alexandra Djotan, MAG La Libération Forcée Des Emprises Du Domaine Public Fait Des Million De Victimes, Radio Parakou, Benin
- Best fact-checking report by a student journalist (English or French): Moussa Ngom, Pourquoi Macron a tout faux…, attending CESTI, Senegal
- Best fact-checking report by a working journalist (English-language): Arison Tamfu, FEATURE: As Paul Biya Looks to Running Again in 2018, Has He delivered on his 2011 electoral promises?, Cameroon Journal, Cameroon
- Best fact-checking report by a working journalist (French-language): Nesmon de Laure Pie, Décryptage- Naissances élevées, les experts s’affrontent, » l’Afrique peut avaler ses populations », PôleAfrique.info, Côte d’Ivoire
After reviewing 130 entries from 22 countries the judges selected the following:
- Best fact-checking report by a working journalist (English-language): Arison Tamfu, The Many Falsehoods in President Biya’s Laptop Gift to University Students, Cameroon Journal, Cameroon.
- Best fact-checking report by a working journalist (French-language): Anderson Diédri, The Ivorian State plunders 11,000 hectares of land in Famienkro, Eburnietoday.com, Côte d’Ivoire.
- 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
After entries from more than 50 journalists in 15 countries, the jury selected the below winners and runners-up:
- Best fact-checking report: Ben Ezeamalu, Premium Times, Nigeria