PRESS RELEASE: Finalists announced in the 2015 ZIMEO “Excellence in Media” Awards

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PRESS RELEASE: Finalists announced in the 2015 ZIMEO

Nairobi, 28th October 2015-Finalists in the first edition of the Zimeo “excellence in Media” Awards have been announced today following a rigorous judging process led by independent pan-African panels of judges.

This is the first edition of the awards, which were launched by the African Media Initiative (AMI) in June 2015, to recognize excellence in journalism by rewarding stories that demonstrate high standards of professionalism and speak to the continent’s development issues. The awards received a total of 557 entries from 41 countries across the continent, from Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone Africa.

The awards categories focused on key topics that are critical to quality of life issues in Africa such as Agriculture and Food Security, Health, Climate Change, Infrastructure, and the Maritime Economy. A full list of the categories can be viewed HERE.

The winners will be announced at a Gala Awards Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 12th November 2015, as part of this year’s African Media Leaders Forum. All in all, the competition produced 57 finalists in 19 categories, drawn from 17 countries.

The judging panels were led by Chief Judges Dapo Olorunyomi, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Nigeria; Professor Levi Obonyo, Dean, School of Communications, Languages and Performing Arts at Daystar University, Kenya; Agnès Kraidy, senior journalist at Fraternité Matin, Cote d’ Ivoire; veteran Cameroonian journalist Alex Gustave Azebaze; Michael Didama, Managing Editor, Le Temps newspaper in Chad; veteran journalist Joachim Buwembo of Uganda; Kafu Kofi Tsikata, Senior Communications Specialist at World Bank in Ghana; and Tunisian based Lotfi Madani, former Chief Communications Specialist at the African Development Bank.

Announcing the finalists, AMI’s senior consultant and judging coordinator Wangethi Mwangi noted: “The quality of entries was impressive, and we believe the finalists represent a growing cadre of professionals who are committed to making an impact through journalism. This inaugural edition of the Zimeo awards has also been an eye-opener and will help us in identifying the gaps in media’s coverage of development issues on the continent.”

Regarding the “Agenda 2063”, “Blogger of the Year”, as well as “Cartoonist of the Year” categories, Mr Mwangi noted: “The entries received in these categories were not sufficient to warrant an award. We hope that more journalists will take on coverage of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 as we move past the Millennium Development Goals. We are optimistic that subsequent editions of the awards will attract more entries of a higher caliber in these very important categories.”

Chief Judge Dapo Olorunyomi noted, “We were very impressed with the range and quality of entries. The reports were engaging and showed the journalists’ commitment to telling the African story. African journalists must continue to pursue depth in the coverage of development issues in order to make real impact.”

This year’s competition is honored to have a great list of sponsors including The Rockefeller Foundation, MTN Africa, African Wildlife Foundation, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Nation Media Group, United Bank of Africa (UBA), and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).

AMI CEO Eric Chinje noted: “ AMI launched the Zimeo “Excellence in Media” Awards with the aim of driving media coverage of issues most pertinent to citizens across the continent. It is our hope that this will ultimately allow media to effectively capture and communicate the transformations taking place on the continent and thereby strengthen the emerging Africa narrative.”

Finalists have also emerged in three categories that seek to recognize institutions with outstanding internal media governance and exemplary support for the media industry. Following a survey conducted by AMI, nine African institutions have been shortlisted for awards in “Media Governance”, “African Public Institutions that Support Media”, and “Corporate Friends of the Media.”

To view a full list of the finalists, CLICK HERE

For any queries and to request an interview with AMI officials or Zimeo chief Judges, please contact:

Irene Wangui
Communications Officer
African Media Initiative (AMI)
Email: iwangui@africanmediainitiative.org

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