Two ICIR reporters shortlisted for 2020 African Fact-checking Awards

THE Africa Check has shortlisted two reporters of the International Center for Investigative Reporting, (ICIR), Damilola Ojetunde and Olayinka Shehu for the 2020 African Fact-checking Awards.

The information which was disclosed on the official website of the Africa Check stated that the 2020 edition received 192 entries from 27 countries across the continent.

According to the organisation, the awards in its seventh year is the only awards programme that honours journalism by Africa-based media in the expanding field of fact-checking.

This year’s categories include Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist and Fact-Check of the Year by a Student Journalist.

The winner of the award for the best fact-checking report by a working journalist will get a prize of $3,000, while the runner-up will be awarded $1,500. For the student category, the winner will get a prize of $2,000, and the runner-up $1,000.

Among the Nigerians shortlisted for the award, is Damilola Ojetunde of The ICIR, whose entry report centered on a photograph shared to justify the sharing of COVID-19 relief materials in Rwanda by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former Nigerian Minister of Finance.

In the report, Damilola was able to establish that the photo was that of a Gambian Islamic leader who shared food items to the Muslims in his area in 2019.

The photograph was shared by a Facebook page named Brother’s Consulting on May 16, 2019. The post was captioned in Frenchas “Cheick Elhadj Ibrahim Dinding sylla” but translated by Facebook to English, as “a generous donor offers food to the faithful Muslims in his area”.

According to Damilola’s findings, Okonjo – Iweala shared a photograph that was nearly a year old to justify what she purported to be the distribution of food items in Rwanda during the COVID-19 pandemic, a process she said was worthy of emulation.

Similarly, Olayinka Shehu also of The ICIR, whose entry focused on the health risk of 5G on the human body was also shortlisted under the Fact-Check of the Year by a working journalist category.

In this report, Olayinka’s verdict identified that it was most certainly inaccurate and untrue that the fifth-generation mobile network has anything to do with the spread of the coronavirus.

While evidence shows that mobile phones release some percentage of radio waves, there is no evidence to show that it has an effect on the human body, plants or causes coronavirus, his Factcheck revealed.



Abeeb Alawiye formerly works with The ICIR as a Reporter/Social Media officer. Now work as a Senior Journalist with BBC News Yoruba. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @habsonfloww

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