Nation Newsplex beat an Africa-wide field to win top honours in the African Fact-Checking Awards held on Saturday night in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The data journalism desk of the Daily Nation won the English-language 2017 African Fact Checking Award for its ‘Before you vote’ series, which fact-checked the claims made by election candidates prior to the general election of August 8, 2017.
From May to August 2017, Nation Newsplex checked claims that politicians made in public, most during public rallies. Through factchecking, Newsplex revealed it was not true that the Kilifi County had received more than Sh40billion from the national government over four and a half years, as President Kenyatta had claimed during a campaign rally.
While Raila Odinga claimed South Korea’s economy was 45 times Kenya’s, Newsplex found it was only 20 times Kenya’s.
Another Nation Media Group journalist, Allan Olingo of The East African, was also shortlisted for the top English fact-checking award for his story, “Tourism, construction drive economic growth”.
Mr Tom Mshindi, Nation Media Group’s Editor in Chief, pledged to invest further in the NewsplexTeam and expand the use of data analysis, particularly in questioning the use of public funds. “We are extremely proud of this achievement by our Nation Newsplex team because it confirms that good journalism is diligence and hard work, and that good journalism will always win the day,” he said.
Mr Churchill Otieno, Editor, Online and New Content, reiterated the commitment of Newsplex to continue finding the facts to inform public debate. “In an age where audiences are buffeted with a stream of fake news and hyperbolic claims, more is demanded of us journalists and the Nation Newsplex data team was established to help deliver on this,” he said.
HIGH BIRTH RATES
“These awards are now in their fourth year and we have seen a record number of entries from journalists in 25 countries, and a standard of entries that just keeps on rising. It shows how far and fast this new form of journalism is spreading,” Africa Check’s Executive Director Peter Cunliffe-Jones said at the awards ceremony.
The French-language 2017 African Fact Checking Award was won by Alexandra Djotan of Benin for fact checking Benin’s environment minister on the law around evictions.
The runner up award in English Fact Checking was won by Arison Tamfu of Cameroon Journal, who questioned whether Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, who is up for election next year, had kept the promises he made in 2011.
The French runner up, Nesmon de Laure Pie from Cote d Ivoire, investigated a claim by French President Emmanuel Macron that poverty in Africa could be explained by high birth rates.
The awards were presented during the Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which was held at the University of the Witwatersrand.
The winning entries in English and French each picked up a first prize of USD$2,000 (Sh207,560), while the runners-up took home USD$1,000 (Sh103,780) each. Winners in the student category received USD$500 (Sh51,890).
By Dorothy Otieno