Twenty-three African journalists will journey to Accra, Ghana next week for the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Award ceremony, where the recently announced 2008 finalists will be recognized for practicing objective, insightful and often daring journalism in order to promote peace and advancement in Africa. This year’s finalists were selected from the largest and most diverse applicant pool the program has seen since its debut in 1995.
The awards and competition “aim to reinforce the importance of the journalists’ role in Africa’s development and to recognize journalistic talent across all disciplines,” according to CNN.com. In 13 years of existence, awards have been given to a diverse group of journalists from countries such as Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa, and Mozambique.
The 16 award categories include: Environment, health, HIV/AIDS, tourism, arts and culture, economics, news, business, best magazine feature and photography, among others. A prize fund of more than $250,000 allows for the finalists to have all-expenses paid program of activities and workshops in Ghana, as well as a state-of-the-art laptop computer with modem and printer and a substantial cash prize.
From the winners, the judges will award the grand
prize to the journalist whose individual piece or body of work merits the title
CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2008, according to a
CNN press release. In addition to their category prizes, the grand-prize
winner will receive a further cash prize and will be invited to CNN
headquarters in Atlanta. This year’s grand-prize winner will be announced July
Edward Boateng, Founder and Group Chairman of Global Media Alliance Group, started the award in 1995 to encourage excellence in journalism throughout Africa. Boateng told The Statesman that the award program has been drastically growing and gaining more support since it began.
This year the competition
received 1,912 applications– 200 more than in 2007- from a record 44
countries throughout the continent. Twenty-three finalists from 14 different countries were selected.
Boateng also noted that the "the quantitative
growth in numbers has also been accompanied by a marked improvement in the
quality of the entries.”
Several African cities have been hosts of the award ceremony since 1995, including Cape Town, Maputo, and Nairobi. This will be the second time the ceremony takes place in Ghana.
2007 CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Richard M.
Kavuma – a reporter with Uganda’s Weekly Observer – won the grand prize for his
series on his country's performance on Millennium Development Goals.
"This is in recognition for journalism that strives to put people at the
forefront,” he said at the 2007 award ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa. “With this award I give my renewed
dedication to act as a voice for the voiceless."
The workshops and
activities for the finalists will take place from July 16-20 and the
winners of the competition will be announced at a gala awards ceremony in The
State Banquet Hall, Osu, Accra, Ghana on July 19. For a complete list of all of the 2008 finalists, click here.