WAMECA 2023 – Here are the members of the grand jury

The MFWA is pleased to announce the jury for the 2023 edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Awards.

The jury which comprises experienced and celebrated media experts in Africa will assess and shortlist deserving entries for the 7th edition of the Award. They will also determine the ultimate winners of the various categories in the Awards of the 7th edition of WAMECA, which will be held on November 11 at the World Trade Centre in Accra, Ghana.

With special delight, the MFWA presents the profiles of the judges for WAMECA 2023 below:

Joseph Warungu—Kenya

Joseph is a media and communication trainer and consultant with over 30 years of international journalism experience, 20 of which were spent at the BBC in London, where he was head of the BBC African News and Current Affairs Department. He is also a former Knight International Journalism Fellow, who is widely travelled in Africa and beyond, working as a journalist, trainer and moderator of public debates on radio and TV.

Warungu specialises in media management training and enhancing the capacity of media to tell in-depth and compelling stories on development issues such as health, education, climate and energy, business and technology. He also works with non-media organisations, including private companies, public entities, NGOs, academic institutions and international agencies to support their communication needs by equipping them with various skills and tools for effective communication and media engagement.

When not teaching at the Aga Khan Graduate School of Media and Communications in Nairobi, Warungu runs Top Story – a national mentorship programme for young journalists in Kenya, in partnership with 25 national universities. Top Story, which takes the form of a popular reality TV show, won the 2019 Global Youth & News Media Award in Paris for making an outstanding contribution to media literacy.

Warungu has an MA in Media Management from the University of Leeds. Some of the organisations Warungu has trained for include Médecins Sans Frontières; Luminate Africa; Unicef Kenya; UNDP (Oslo); Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (South Africa); United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Nigeria); Shell (UK); World Conference of Science Journalists (Doha); Human Rights Watch Africa; Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (Ethiopia); National Democratic Institute; Human Rights Watch; Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Reyhana Masters—Zimbabwe

Reyhana Masters is a distinguished Hubert Humphrey Alumni with a remarkable career that spans over three decades as a journalist, trainer, researcher, and media and communications consultant throughout the African continent. With extensive experience and expertise in the field, Reyhana has held esteemed senior editorial positions in various media organizations in Zimbabwe and has actively participated in numerous regional media projects, contributing as a content creator and editor.

At the core of her professional pursuits, Reyhana is a passionate advocate for media freedom, freedom of expression, and access to information. Drawing upon her solid background in journalism, she skillfully weaves compelling stories that vividly capture the African context, while simultaneously challenging regressive narratives surrounding freedom of expression and policy issues on the continent.

Reyhana’s comprehensive understanding of the media landscape in the region has been significantly enhanced through her role as a moderator for the African Media Barometer in several countries across the continent. This engagement has provided her with valuable insights into the diverse media environments, enabling her to effectively navigate the complexities and nuances that shape media dynamics in each context. She has also demonstrated her commitment to democratic principles as the editor of three consecutive issues of “So This Is Democracy.”

Furthermore, Reyhana has conducted extensive research and analysis on multiple countries in the southern African region, focusing specifically on the political, economic, and policy frameworks within which the media sector operates.

Notably, she carried out a comparative review of the ACHPR Principles on Freedom of Expression and the 2019 Declaration on Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information

Currently, she is dedicated to addressing issues related to digital violence against women, shedding light on the challenges faced by women in the digital realm and advocating for their safety and well-being.

Hamadou Tidiane Sy—Senegal

Hamadou Tidiane Sy is a seasoned Senegalese journalist and a passionate journalism trainer. He is the founder of the award-winning online news platform (Ouestaf News) specializing in investigations and in-depth reporting. Based in Dakar, he is training the next generation of African journalists, as the founder and Director of E-jicom, a renowned journalism, communication and digital media school.

Tidiane sits on the board of major African media organizations, namely the Dakar-based West Africa Democracy Radio and Africa Check. Recognised as a social innovator in the field of “News and Knowledge” by the Ashoka and Knight Foundations, he was also listed, during the Covid pandemic, amongst the 16 Africans offering the most relevant answers to the pandemic through his journalistic initiative “Reliable information against disinformation” to fight the Covid-19. In 2021 he received the “Media Leadership Award” at the Brussels Rebranding Africa Forum.

As a journalist, Hamadou Tidiane Sy has reported extensively throughout the African continent for the BBC, AFP (Agence France Presse), Global Radio News, Channel Africa, RFI English Service, etc. At the head of Ouestaf, he took part in major global investigation projects, contributing to the global “Panama Papers”, “the Swissleaks”, and “Fatal Extractions.”

Tidiane now doubles as a researcher and has just led a research team which worked on the “Senegalese media in the internet age”. Before that, he worked on a research paper on “online privacy and freedom of expression in Senegal” as a Global Network Initiative (GNI) fellow.

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