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Media foundation opens entries for 2021 award

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The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has opened entries for the 5th edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA).

WAMECA 2021 will be held on October 22 and 23 in Accra, Ghana, and will focus on the theme: Misinformation, Digital Media Regulation and Journalism in Africa.

The awards are opened to journalists from print, electronic and online media in Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone countries in West Africa. An applicant must be West African, working with and for a media organisation(s). An entry for the awards must have been published or broadcast between the periods of January 1 to December 31, 2020.

WAMECA 2021 will honour outstanding works of journalism in West Africa in the following categories: Health Reporting, Environmental Reporting, Anti-Corruption Reporting, Investigative Reporting, Human rights Reporting, Business and SMEs Reporting, Telecoms and ICTs Reporting and Special COVID-19 Reporting

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The deadline for the submission of the entries is on June 30, 2021, at 17.00 GMT. Finalists for WAMECA 2021 Awards will be announced on October 1, 2021.

Interested applicants should upload published works via the entry form on the website: www.mfwa.org/wameca. The entry should be an original work published through a media outlet in West Africa and must show the date of publication/broadcast and the medium in which the work was published. Applicants may submit entries to a maximum of two categories. For each category, a maximum of two entries is permitted.

Winners of the various categories will be announced at the West Africa Media Excellence Awards on October 23, at Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotel, Accra where the awards ceremony will be held. The Conference will feature sessions on topical journalism issues and also provide opportunities for networking among journalists, editors, and experts from West Africa.

WAMECA is an initiative of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) to promote media excellence in the sub-region.For more information, visit www.mfwa.org/wameca or email to wameca@mfwa.org.

Meanwhile, entries for the 2021 African Fact-Checking Awards, the longest-running awards programme that honours fact-checking journalism by the media in Africa, are now open. Journalists and journalism students across the continent can enter the awards, now in their eighth year.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying increase in dis- and misinformation led to the growth of fact-checking in Africa and globally. We received a record number of 192 entries from 27 African countries in 2020 and expect this number to rise again this year.

“Through the awards, we want to promote the practice of fact-checking and making accurate information available to citizens of all countries across Africa, which is now more important than ever,” says Noko Makgato, executive director at Africa Check.

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“This, we believe, will help the public make informed decisions about important issues related to their health, education, politics and more. Ultimately, we expect that this will strengthen democracy and improve the quality of life across the continent.”

According to Taiwo Adebulu, last year’s winner in the category of Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist, fact-checking keeps political leaders and policymakers on their toes as they know they cannot just “churn out falsehoods” and get away with it. “They know there are journalists whose watchful eyes and swift pens are ready to call them out and let the public know the truth,” says Adebulu.

To qualify, entries must have first been published or broadcast on any date from 23 August 2020 to 31 July 2021. They should expose a claim on an important topic that originated in or is relevant to Africa as either misleading or wrong.

The categories are: (I) Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist, (II) Fact-Check of the Year by a Student Journalist and one runner-up in each of the two categories above.

The winner of the working journalist category will get a prize of US$3,000, while the runner-up will be awarded $1,500. The winner of the student journalist category will get a prize of $2,000, and the runner-up $1,000.
Entries close at midnight GMT on August 1, 2021.

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