Media Foundation for West Africa is pleased to announce the finalists for the maiden West Africa Media Excellence Awards. The competition received more than 400 entries from 12 countries across West Africa but after a thorough review of all entries, 15 finalists for 6 out of 11 categories were shortlisted. The Finalists are as follows:
A) Oil and Gas Reporting
- Justice Baidoo, Multimedia Broadcasting Limited, Ghana
- Femi Asu, Punch Newspaper, Nigeria
B) ECOWAS and Regional Integration Reporting
- Akinfenwa Ebenezer Olugbenga, The Guardian Newspaper, Nigeria
- Shiella Williams, Business DayNewspaper, Ghana
C) Anti-Corruption Reporting
- Alagbe Jesusegun, Punch Newspaper, Nigeria
- Odimegwu Onwumere, The Nigerian Voice, Nigeria
D) Health Reporting
- Kindo Noufou, Burkina 24, Burkina Faso
- Agbota Ernest, ORTB Radio Parakou, Benin
- Fousseni Saibou, Radio Kanal FM, Togo
E) Human Rights Reporting
- Bazie Bassana Jonas, Radio Wat FM, Burkina Faso
- Seth Kwame Boateng, Multimedia Broadcasting Limited, Ghana
- Sodjago Ankou Mawuegnegan, Senego, Senegal
F) Investigative Reporting
- Arukaino Umukoro, Punch Newspaper, Nigeria
- Ulrich Vital Ahotondji et Romuald Logbo, EducAction, Benin
- Manasseh Azure Awuni, Multimedia Broadcasting Limited, Ghana
Finalists will be hosted at the Awards event on the 28th of October, 2017 and also participate in the West Africa Media Excellence Conference on the 27th of October, 2017 which will feature sessions on topical journalism issues and also provide opportunities for networking with other journalists, editors, and experts from West Africa.
The overall best West African journalist would also be announced at the Awards event.
Winners will receive plaques, certificates and cash prizes. All finalists who are not winners in the various categories will also receive certificates of merit.
All 15 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.
To ensure that determination of stories to be awarded is based on a credible, high-standard and a professional standard, the MFWA assembled a three-member team of distinguished, experienced and renowned journalists and media experts to serve as judges. They whittled the initial list down to the 15 finalists and will be involved in choosing the award winners.
The judges are:
- Sophie Ly – Senegal
Ms Sophie Ly is an experienced Senegalese journalist, media trainer and media development expert. She currently serves as the Director of the Dakar-based consulting firm, Nexus Groupe. She opened and managed the West Africa office of Panos Institute in Dakar from 1992 to 1994. From 1995 and 2001 she served as the Secretary-General of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters based in Montreal Canada.
From 2005 to 2007, Ms Ly was in charge of the Media Programme at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and was in charge of Oxfam America’s regional Communications from 2007 to 2009. For three consecutive years, she served as a member of the jury for the CNN-Multi-choice African Journalism Awards. She is also a member of the jury for the Norbert Zongo Awards for Investigative Journalism run by the Burkina Faso-based Norbert Zongo Press Centre.
- Lanre Idowu – Nigeria
Mr Lanre Idowu is an accomplished and highly respected Nigerian journalist, editor, author, publisher, media owner and trainer. He is well known in Nigeria for his passion and commitment to quality journalism. He serves as a Trustee of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence and the Nigerian Guild of Editors. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Lifetime Award for Media Excellence in Nigeria by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ).
Mr Idowu is currently the CEO of Diamond Publications Ltd and editor-in-chief of Media Review, a publication that reviews the performance of the Nigerian Media. He has worked with various leading Nigerian newspapers such as the Daily Times, The Guardian and The Democrat. He worked with Thisweek magazine from 1986 to 1989 as an associate editor and deputy editor. He describes himself as an incurable optimist in the capacity of the media to serve as a tool for development.
- Elizabeth Ohene – Ghana
Ms Elizabeth Ohene is veteran Ghanaian journalist. She worked with the Graphic Communications Group between 1967 and 1982 as a Reporter, Staff Writer, Columnist and Acting Editor of the Daily Graphic and Mirror. She later worked for several years with the BBC as a Producer of Radio Programmes, a Presenter, Senior Producer on World Service, editor of the Focus on Africa programme, and deputy editor in the African Service for English daily programmes.
Ms Ohene also reported regularly for the BBC from various parts of Africa and was the resident correspondent in South Africa from 1993 to 1994 during the transition from apartheid to the first democratic elections. She conducted several training programmes for journalists for the BBC in South Africa, Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. For a number of years, she served as a Member of CNN Africa Journalist of the Year Competition.
The West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA) is supported by Tullow-Ghana, MTN-Ghana, Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors Ghana, Stanbic Bank and the US Embassy in Ghana. The event is also supported by several media partners across West Africa.