Monday, January 20, 2014

Fact-checking awards for Africa

The AFP Foundation, the agency's media training arm, and, the continent's first fact-checking website, on Monday launched the first awards for fact-checking work by African journalists.

The awards, winners of which are to be announced in November 2014, are intended to promote accuracy in public debate and in the media in Africa.

"It is essential for democracies to function properly, that claims made by public personalities can be checked objectively," said Emmanuel Hoog, Foundation Chairman and CEO of its parent company. "It is important to honour those who do this vital fact-checking work."

The awards were created 15 months after the launch in October 2012 of Africa Check, a fact-checking website conceived by the AFP Foundation and set up in partnership with the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

The site has so far published more than 80 reports scrutinising claims on subjects such as public health, crime and the economy by South African politicians, business leaders and other prominent people.

Africa Check has itself won several awards and, last week, a columnist for the South African newspaper The Mail and Guardian said the site was one of the "reasons to be cheerful" ahead of the country's general elections later this year.

The new awards will be open to all journalists working for media houses that are based in Africa, including print, online, radio and television, as well as blogs.

Original pieces of fact-checking journalism, published between 1 September 2013 and 1 September 2014, will be judged on the basis of their relevance to public debate, their impartiality, presentation and impact.

A panel of eminent African and European journalists will be invited to judge the awards, which will carry a top prize of 2000 euros (R29 400) and two runner-up prizes of 1000 euros (R14 670) each.

Details of how to enter for the awards will be published later by the AFP Foundation and by Africa Check.

International Institute for ICT Journalism

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