JOHANNESBURG – Asha Ahmed Mwilu was named this year’s best journalist on the continent at the climax of the annual CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2016 Awards ceremony. Asha, who is KTN News features and documentaries editor, shared the overall award with her cameraman Rashid Iddi – after a nail-biting countdown for the five short-listed Kenyan journalists – for their combined work ‘Terror Crossing’.
Mwilu and Idi’s story carried on KTN’s investigative programme The Lead is an in-depth investigative documentary about security at the Kenya-Somali border in Mandera County in the north eastern part of Kenya. KTN is owned by Standard Group, which also runs the Standard newspapers.
“We are overwhelmed by this accolade,” said Asha immediately after receiving the award. “It is a dream come true to win the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Award for a story that we believe passionately in and one that we felt was important to tell.”
There was palpable tension at the Gallagher Convention here in Johannesburg when the other three Kenyan finalists – Isaac Akume of Commonwealth writers, Dominic Omondi of Standard and Cheboite Kigen of Nation – failed to win in their respective categories of features, business reporting and photography, leaving only Asha and Iddi for the News Impact award. The two scooped the category and overall award, electrifying Kenyans at the ceremony when senior managers from Nation and Standard put aside their rivalry to celebrate the win.
Yolisa Phahle, CEO of M-Net, and Greg Beitchman, VP, Content Sales and Partnerships, CNN International, presented Mwilu and Iddi with the award. The duo was among 38 finalists from 15 countries who attended the awards ceremony which was the culmination of an all-expense paid four-day programme of workshops, media forums and networking in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Story that won the overall award
“Quality journalism has shone through once again at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards. Congratulations to all of tonight’s finalists and winners, especially to overall winners Asha Ahmed Mwilu and Rashid Idi for their powerful reporting.
“We look forward to welcoming them at the CNN Journalism Fellowship in Atlanta,” Greg Beitchman, VP, Content Sales and Partnerships, CNN International,” said.
Tim Jacobs, CEO, MultiChoice Africa, said the winners’ unique way of storytelling had captured the hearts and minds of all Africans and those beyond its borders. The Awards have not only had a profound effect on the African media landscape, he added, but had catapulted winners into senior positions and success.
“As MultiChoice Africa we remain committed to recognising excellence in journalism throughout Africa. We applaud all the finalists and winners for continuing to tell Africa’s stories and contributing to Africa’s growth and success,” said Jacobs.
The competition was supported by a number sponsors, including Dow, Ecobank, GE, IPP Media and the World Health Organisation. All finalists will receive both a cash prize and tablet, with the overall winner receiving a further cash prize and the opportunity to participate in the CNN Journalism Fellowship at CNN Headquarters in Atlanta.