Africa Check and United States International University-Africa bring first-ever Africa Facts summit to Kenya

By Dudu Mkhize
After two years of COVID-19 disruption and virtual meetings, the Africa Facts network of fact-checkers was held in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi from 9 to 10 November 2022, and brought together fact-checking organizations and experts from all corners of the continent.
In 2017, at the first Africa Facts meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, only two of the network’s organizations were fact-checking regularly. Today, the network is made up of more than 20 organisations from across Africa – from Burkina Faso in the west to Ethiopia in the East and Zimbabwe in the South. This is testament to the growth of fact-checking on the continent over the past five years.

“We are excited to hold this important gathering of African fact-checkers, to share ideas and best practice in effective ways of combating the scourge of misinformation on our continent,” said Noko Makgato, Executive Director of Africa Check.

“It is imperative to strengthen verification and fact-checking in our media eco-system if we are ever going to effectively counter misinformation and propaganda that’s eroding veracity of information in many quarters,” Dr. Dorothy Njoroge, the Media and Communications Department acting chair of the host institution, United States International University-Africa added.

At the inaugural summit, fact-checkers discussed several topics on strengthening fact-checking in Africa. These included obstacles in the fight against misinformation, why media literacy matters, and fact-checking in challenging environments.

The summit concluded with the highly anticipated African Fact-Checking Awards gala dinner, which is the longest-running awards program honouring fact-checking journalism in Africa.

“The awards aim to bolster fact-checking excellence throughout the continent,” said Dudu Mkhize, Africa Check’s Head of Outreach. “This year we have more than 200 entries from over 20 African countries, making it clear that fact-checking is growing across the continent.”

The awards have three categories, with honours going to a winner and a runner-up. The winners were:

  • Fact-Check of the Year by a Working Journalist was awarded to Kunle Adebajo ( HumAngle) and the runner-up was Kabir Yusuf (Premium Times) .
  • Fact-Check of the Year by a Professional Fact-Checker was awarded to Jonas Nyabor (Dubawa) and the runner-up was James Okong'o from AFP Fact Check.
  • Fact-Check of the Year by a Student Journalist was awarded to Vidyasharita Bumma, Kokeelavani Mauree/ Sachita Gobeen and the runner-up was Elizabeth Henri from Heloise.

The winners of the working journalist and professional fact-checker categories received a prize of US$3,000 while the runners-up received $1,500. The winner of the student journalist category was awarded $2,000, and the runner-up $1,000.

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