We’re thrilled to announce the winners of this year’s African Fact-Checking Awards (see winners and runners-up below). This year, we received a record number of 192 entries from 27 countries across the continent.
Now in its seventh year and continuing to grow, it is the only awards programme that honours journalism by Africa-based media in the expanding field of fact-checking.
In the inaugural year, 2014, we received entries from about 40 journalists across 10 countries. This year’s 192 entries were submitted by a total of 140 journalists and 28 journalism students. Candidates could only enter for the awards in one category but could submit more than one report.
The record number of entries came at a time where across the globe, the Covid-19 pandemic ushered a flood of dangerous false information. The World Health Organization says the outbreak has been accompanied by the so-called infodemic: “an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it”.
The pandemic has raised the stakes even higher in the fight against misinformation, requiring that the media play an even more active role in sifting the facts from the fiction.
“With health-related decisions sometimes being a matter of life or death, good fact-checking journalism is vital – now more than ever. The quality of information disseminated in public can determine the life outcomes of many and so it is the responsibility of the media to refrain from being conduits of misinformation,” says Noko Makgato, executive director at Africa Check.
“Each year we are seeing growing interest in fact-checking as evidenced by the number of organisations that have emerged focusing their efforts on debunking harmful claims in different parts of the continent. This, we believe, strengthens the quality of public debate and, hopefully, improves the quality of life across the continent.”
This year’s categories included:
- 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
Entries should have been first published or broadcast on any date from 1 August 2019 to 22 August 2020. They should have exposed a claim on an important topic made by a public figure or institution in Africa as misleading or wrong.
The winner of the award for best fact-checking report by a working journalist received a prize of $3,000, while the runner-up was awarded $1,500. The winner of the award for best fact-checking report by a student journalist received a prize of $2,000, and the runner-up $1,000.
Winners and runners-up
Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist
Runner-up: Aisha Abdool Karim “The coronavirus ‘vaccine’ Ekurhuleni wants to import doesn’t exist”
Fact-Check of the Year by a Student Journalist
Runner-up: Oluwaseye Ogunsanya “Did Nigeria’s Minister Of Education Announce Resumption of Schools On September 7?”
Aisha Abdool Karim
Marième Fatou Dramé
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