Nigerian journalist Chikezie Omeje took the top prize in this year’s African Fact-Checking Awards, held in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Omeje of the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) won the top fact-checking award for African media for a piece that checked if Nigeria recorded a drastic reduction in pre-school enrolment.
The runner-up was Jason Norwood-Young of South Africa’s Daily Maverick for a report that checked how much water Cape Town residents were saving in light of a crippling drought.
The winner of the student category was Moussa Ngom, a previous winner and who attends CESTI in Senegal, for a report refuting a claim that Dakar was the second most polluted city in the world.
The runner-up was Ibraheem Alawode, a student of the University of Ibadan and intern at Dubawa (Premium Times) in Nigeria, for his fact-check on whether Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world.
The winner of the best fact-check picked up a first prize of $2,000 and the runner-up $1,000. The winner of the student category takes home $1,000 and the runner-up will take $500. The awards, co-hosted this year with the African Investigative Journalism Conference (AIJC), were sponsored by the AFP news agency and Absa bank.
Africa Check’s deputy director Noko Makgato thanked the sponsors and the six-person jury led by Head of Wits Journalism Franz Kruger, and said: “We are encouraged by the continued interest in the awards and the quality of entries. This is our fifth year running the African Fact-Checking Awards – the only awards that each year honour journalism by Africa-based media in the growing field of fact-checking.”
Over 150 entries were received from journalists in more than 20 countries for the awards in 2018. Details of the 2019 awards, for working and student journalists, will be announced by Africa Check early next year.
Africa Check is a non-profit organisation set up in 2012 to promote accuracy in public debate and the media in Africa. The goal of our work is to raise the quality of information available to society across the continent.