Two Kenyan journalists shortlisted for prestigious African fact-checking award

Daily Nation and PesaCheck reporters nominated in a field dominated by West African journalists

Two Kenyan data journalists will contest a field of 11 reporters from across the continent for the fifth annual African fact-checking award which will be announced in late October in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Daily Nation Data Editor Dorothy Otieno and PesaCheck data scribe Soila Kenya are on the shortlist released by Africa Check, an independent organisation that has been running the awards since 2014.

Ms. Otieno gets the nod for an article titled “Why coal has no place in Kenya’s energy future” that looks at the financial and environmental viability of coal energy in the country.

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The Daily Nation reporter is seeking to win the award for a second year in a row after scooping the best-fact check journalist title last year on behalf of the Nation Newsplex team for a series of fact-checking articles titled “Before You Vote” which were published in the run up to last year’s General Elections in the country.

Ms. Kenya has been nominated for a fact-checking piece that dealt with a claim by Mombasa County Health Chief Officer Dr. Khadija Shikely who had alleged that one gulp of shisha was equivalent to smoking 10 sticks of cigarettes. The article came in the midst of public debate on the shisha ban in Kenya.

The PesaCheck journalist is also in the running for an Africa Climate Change and Environment Reporting (ACCER) Award for penning a piece on the impact of toxic fumes and air pollution on children in Nairobi that was published in the Star Newspaper.

RELATED : FACT-CHECKING: A NEW HOPE IN FAKE NEWS LAND

Africa Check’s shortlist is dominated by fact-checking reports from Nigeria, with five of the 11 nominees hailing from the West African country. Another two on the shortlist are from Ivory Coast, with Senegal and South Africa receiving one nomination each.

The awards will also seek to acknowledge the best fact-checking student journalist, a five-person field that has attracted nominees from Senegal (3) and Nigeria(2). The student journalist submissions have impressed the judges.

“We were particularly struck by the student entries, which were very strong. In some cases, they were well ahead of entries from professional journalists.”

Prof Franz Kruger, Chair of the jury for the African fact-checking awards.

Africa Check is an independent non-profit organisation whose objective is to hold public figures need to be held to account for what they say for the purpose of fostering democracy.

Fact-checking has been on the rise in the world due to fake news and has been catching pace in Africa with even AFP recently advertising for the position of a fact-checking journalist in East Africa, a first for the French News Agency in the region.

READ : JOURNALISTS WARNED AGAINST PROPAGATING FAKE NEWS

In September of this year, PesaCheck managing editor Eric Mugendi told Business Today, “Fact-checking is necessary because of the proliferation of fake news and especially because the manner in which we now receive news and information has changed because of social media.”

Africa Fact-Checking Awards Shortlist

Best Fact-Check (Journalists, English Language)

1. Babatunde Akintunde  (NIGERIA) – Premium Times

2. Jason Norwood-Young  (SOUTH AFRICA) – Daily Maverick

3. Abiodun Alade (NIGERIA) – Daily Trust

4. Oluseyi Awojulugbe (NIGERIA) – The Cable

5. 

6. Soila Kenya (KENYA) – PesaCheck

7. Odimegwu Onwumere – ooreporters.com (NIGERIA)

8. Dorothy Otieno (KENYA) – Daily Nation

Best Fact-Check (Journalists, French Language)

1. A Cisse (SENEGAL) – Ouestaf News

2. Anderson Diédri (IVORY COAST) – eburnietoday.com

3. Sériba Koné (SENEGAL) – lepointsur.com

Best Student Journalist Fact-Check (English or French) 

1. Adejumo Kabir (NIGERIA) – Dubawa

2. Ibraheem Alawode (NIGERIA) – Dubawa

3. Par Princesse Lorita Simbou Kombila (SENEGAL) – Ejicom

4. Abdoulaye Mbow (SENEGAL) – Ejicom

5. Moussa Ngom (SENEGAL) – CESTI

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