Nigerian, Senegalese journalists win Africa Check Fact-Checking Awards

Senior Editorial Analyst/Industry Editor of BusinessDay Media, Odinaka Anudu has been awarded winner of the Africa Check Fact-Check Of The Year By A Working Journalist.

Anudu was awarded at the sixth annual Africa Check Fact-Checking Awards held on Tuesday, October 29 at Wits University in Braamfontein.

He was also awarded R29 236 as cash prize for the award.

Anudu, who was represented by Taiwo Adebulu of The Cable won the award for his investigative work titled: ‘Ongoing projects in South East: Truth vs Lies’.

Another journalist with AFP Fact Check Nigeria, Oluwamayowa Tijana emerged runner-up in the category and was awarded a cash prize of R14 618.

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Meanwhile, Senegalese student journalist from Centre d’Etudes des Sciences et Techniques de l’Information (CESTI), Souleymane Diassy won the award for the Fact-check Of The Year By A Student.

His entry which was published on his blog, ‘Santé : Kolda a-t-elle le plus grand ratio de mortalité maternelle au Sénégal?’ (Health: Does Kolda have the highest maternal mortality rate in Senegal?), edged that sent in by his fellow who emerged runner-up, Dienyaba Thiombane.

While Diassy was awarded R14, Thiombane was awarded R7 309 as cash prize.

Head of the award’s panel of judges, Roukaya Kassenally, said the judges sought groundbreaking work which does not always make the headlines.

“We were looking for stories that matter and touched lives; stories that had an in-depth analysis where the journalist used a gamut of techniques to dig through the information to get the story.

“The spread of the submissions from both anglophone and francophone countries shows fact-checking cuts across the continent as a fundamental technique,” the associate professor at the University of Mauritius added.

Executive Director of Africa Check, Noko Makgato, said fact-checking is a vital element of journalism in Africa because “we operate in countries where information is not freely available. When it is available, it is of a questionable quality prone to influence the citizenry.

“We need citizens to be recipients of verified, quality information so they can make informed decisions about their lives.

“The objective of the awards is to encourage journalists to engage in fact-checking, a sorely needed key element of journalism missing in Africa.

“We are hoping to develop this further with more journalists taking fact-checking up as a vocation,” he said.