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South African, Nigerian emerge winners at 2021 African Fact-Checking Awards

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SOUTH African Jean le Roux and Nigerian Oluwasegun Olakoyenikan have been announced winners in the 2021 Africa Check Fact-Checking Awards ceremony. 

The Eight Africa Check Fact-Checking Award winners were announced on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, virtually as part of this year’s  African Investigative Journalism Conference.

Fact-checkers from Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Senegal took the top honours in the 2021 African Fact-Checking Awards.

Jean le Roux from the Digital Forensic Research Lab’s team in Cape Town, South Africa, was announced as the winner of the award for Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist for his investigation of claims by the Nigerian Army that reports of soldiers opening fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in October 2020 were “fake news”.

He used open-source evidence to confirm that armed soldiers fired their weapons in the presence of protesters and found no evidence to support the army’s claim that reports of the shooting were “fake”.

Oluwasegun Olakoyenikan from AFP Fact Check was announced runner-up for a report in which he found that several Nigerian media outlets as well as President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Bashir Ahmad, incorrectly reported that the so-called “EU Human Rights Forum” commended Buhari for the swiftness of the rescue of hundreds of kidnapped boys in December 2020. He found that no such forum existed.

The winner of the category of Fact-Check of the Year by a Student Journalist is Ugandan Reagan Kiyimba from Makerere University.

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He investigated a claim that the country had a herbal cure for Covid-19.

The runner-up is Senegalese Fatma Mbacké from the CESTI journalism school in Senegal, who debunked a false claim that Ghanaian farmers had stopped exporting cocoa to Europe.

Announcing this year winners, Africa Check Chief Editor Lee Mwiti said it received 216 entries from 28 countries and the first time that we have received more than 200 since we started the awards in 2014.

Africa Check is Africa’s first Independent fact-checking website and held its inaugural awards in 2014.

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