A PREMIUM TIMES’ journalist, Cletus Ukpong, has been shortlisted for the 2019 edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Awards.
The award organisers, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), which announced this on Tuesday, said 21 journalists, from six West African countries, have been shortlisted for the awards.
Mr Ukpong is the regional editor, South-South Nigeria, for PREMIUM TIMES. His entry for the award was a six-part investigative series on the rot in public education in Akwa Ibom, one of Nigeria’s richest states.
MFWA said 724 entries were received from journalists in over 15 countries.
The award ceremony is scheduled to hold on October 19 in Accra, Ghana.
Other shortlisted journalists from Nigeria are Odinaka Anudu, Business Day; Tobore Ovuorie, The Nation; Kunle Adebajo, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR); Tunde Ajaja, Punch; and Aneta Felix, TV360 Nigeria.
From Ghana, Edward Adeti of Starr FM, Beryl Richter, Joy News, and Timothy Ngnenbe of Graphic Online are on the list.
Others from Ghana are Seth Boateng, Joy News; Nabil Rufai, GHOne TV; Emmanuel Dogbevi, ICIJ/Cenozo; Justice Baidoo, Joy News; and Emmanuel Debrah, Joy News.
Sama Tounwendsida Hugues Richard of L’Observeteur Paala; Sawadogo Delwendé Elza Sandrine Clothilde, of L’Economiste Du Faso; Joseph Haro, Sidwaya; and Tagnan Rodrigue Arnaud, Mutations, are the journalists shortlisted from Burkina Faso.
Seriba Kone, Lepointsur.com of Cote D’Ivoire, Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, Frontpage Africa, of Liberia, and Mame Diomma Dramé, Ouestaf News of Senegal have also been shortlisted from the region.
“The winners for the various categories including the West African Journalist of the Year will be announced at the Awards event on October 19, 2019,” MFWA said in a statement published on its website.
“All finalists will receive a Certificate of Merit. Ultimate winners will receive plaques, certificates and cash prizes.
“All 21 finalists will also be inducted as fellows of the MFWA’s Journalism for Change Network and will be offered regular training opportunities both locally and internationally to enhance their capacity to influence positive change in society through journalism.”
Norbert Zongo Award
Meanwhile, another Nigerian journalist, Peter Nkanga, was one of the African investigative reporters who won prizes at the 2019 Norbert Zongo Investigative award of excellence which held Friday in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The event was a part of a week-long conference that focused on press freedom and freedom of expression.
Over 200 journalists, scholars and government officials brainstormed on challenges facing press freedom and freedom of expression in Africa.
The deliberations were under the auspices of the International Festival of Freedom of Expression and Press (FILEP) organised by the Norbert Zongo Press Centre (CNP-NZ).
The theme of this biennial FILEP meeting was “Feathers, microphones and cameras for a free and united Africa”.
Mr Nkanga, who won a cash prize, was also given a certificate of ‘encouragement’ (recognition).
The panel of judges said one of his reports which focused on the plight of journalists detained by Nigerian security operatives won him the recognition in the online news category.
A multilingual investigative journalist, Mr Nkanga recently won the first-ever Jamal Khashoggi Award for Courageous Journalism for 2019.
The award is an initiative of the US-based global human rights foundation, Inti Raymi Fund.
He is known to be a fierce advocate for press freedom. Mr Nkanga has vigorously campaigned for the rights of journalists in Nigeria and Africa.
In 2018, he was one of those who led the advocacy for the release of Jones Abiri, the publisher of Bayelsa State-based weekly paper, Weekly Source, who was arrested by operatives of the State Security Service in July 2016.
Others who were honored at the event include William Rasoanaivo from Madagascar (Best Caricature), Haruna Marane from Burkina Faso (Best photojournalist ), Roukiatou Ouattara, from Burkina Faso, (Radio) and Oumar Sombre, Burkina Faso (Television). They were also given the cash prizes each and certificates of recognition.
The overall prize of the night for the best Investigative piece went to Malian journalist, Serge Daniel Gbogbohoundada. He was given 1 million CFA (approx $800) and a plaque.
The Investigative Prize is an award of excellence to reward the best works of investigative journalism in Africa.
The prize was thrown open to all the professional working journalists in Africa or journalists collaborating with the African press.
The stories selected by the organisers were published or broadcast between May 3, 2017, and May 3, 2019.
The prize was initiated in honour of a journalist, Norbert Zongo, who was killed while conducting an investigation into the unresolved death of David Ouédraogo, driver of François Compaoré, the younger brother of President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso.