The editor of African Newspage, Adam Alqali, on Saturday emerged winner of the 2018 West Africa Media Awards’ prize for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reporting, at an event held at the Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana.
Now the West African sub-region’s most prestigious media awards, the West Africa Media Awards is an initiative of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) focused on promoting media excellence in the sub-region by honouring West African journalists “who have produced compelling works which have had significant impact on society”.
Alqali was one of 18 finalists across 7 out of 14 categories of the competition which this year received over 600 entries from across 12 countries of West Africa, Francophone and Anglophone.
His shortlisted entry titled: “Out of school children: Nigeria’s ticking time-bomb” according to a citation read at the event was “about SDG4 – it tells the untold stories of Nigeria’s over 10.5 million out-of-school children and the looming socioeconomic and security consequences represented by the huge numbers of out-of-school children to Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria.”
An award-winning development journalist who was awarded the 2017 Travel Fellowship of the 10th World Conference of Science Journalists held at San Francisco, United States, Alqali last September emerged finalist for the 2018 media awards of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa (OFAB) held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
In November, 2017 he was 2nd runner-up for African Media Initiative’s Zimeo Excellence Awards (Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] category) held at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Speaking as special guest of honour at the event, Mohamed Ibn Chambers, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), said the award was an “expression of gratitude” for the awardees’ contribution towards achieving peace and progress in the West African sub-region.
“As the fourth estate of the realm, the media occupies a particular place of reference…this award is an expression of our gratitude for your contribution to our shared values…a free, secured and independent media is the foundation of democracy. This event is an opportunity to put the media on the spotlight – assess its contributions and challenges,” Chambers told the awardees.
“Media plays a key role in preventing conflict by allowing the expression of grievances – human rights violations, indignities, discriminations, and marginalization – which are the causes of conflicts. While the media offers tools for development it can [also] be used as a tool for expressing hate; misuse of media to create conflicts also extends to other aspects of democracy.”
All 18 finalists of this year’s awards have been inducted “as fellows of the MFWA’s Journalism for Change Network and will be offered regular training opportunities both locally and internationally to enhance their capacity to influence positive change in society through journalism.”
The West Africa Media Excellence Awards 2018 was supported by the United States embassy in Ghana, MTN-Ghana, the Centre for International Media Assistance (CIMA), and DW Akademie as well as GCB Bank, Stanbic Bank, amongst others.
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