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West Africa Media Excellence Awards 2019: Profile of Judges

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has constituted a 5-member committee of distinguished and experienced journalists and media experts to serve as the Jury for the 2019 edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Awards.

The committee of judges will review and shortlist the deserving entries to be awarded for the various categories of the West Africa Media Excellence Awards on October 19, 2019 at the Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana. The judges will also review entries for the AU Charter Awards, which will be held together with this year’s West Africa Media Excellence Awards.

The West Africa Media Excellence Awards seeks to promote and uphold high standards of journalism in West Africa by recognising and rewarding journalists who have distinguished themselves through quality works that are impacting society.

The AU Charter Awards also aims at honouring journalists across Africa who are producing high quality and critical stories that are promoting the course of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).

Below are the profiles of the judges:

Lanre Idowu- Nigeria

Lanre Idowu is an accomplished and highly respected Nigerian journalist, editor, author, publisher, media owner and trainer. He is well known in Nigeria for his passion and commitment to quality journalism.

He serves as a Trustee of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence. He is also a fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Lifetime Award for Media Excellence in Nigeria by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ).

Idowu is currently the CEO of Diamond Publications Ltd and editor-in-chief of Media Review, a publication that reviews the performance of the Nigerian Media. He has worked with various leading Nigerian newspapers such as the Daily Times, The Guardian and The Democrat.

He worked with Thisweek magazine from 1986 to 1989 as an associate editor, deputy editor and editor.  He describes himself as an incurable optimist in the capacity of the media to serve as a tool for development.

Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng – Ghana

Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng is a veteran Ghanaian journalist, editor, teacher, media trainer and consultant.

He is the immediate past Chairman of the National Media Commission, a media regulatory body in Ghana, and also the immediate past President of the Ghana Association of Writers. Nana is also the immediate past President of the African Communication Regulators Network. Between 2004 to 2006, he worked as the Communication Policy Advisor at Third World Network Africa.

Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng has previously worked as the editor of the Mirror newspaper in Ghana, editor of the renowned West Africa magazine in London and publisher/editor of African Topics magazine.

He has been a part-time lecturer in several institutions including the Vauxhall College in London, the European University for Peace Studies in Austria, Ghana Institute of Journalism and the African University College of Communication in Accra.

Nana has also consulted for a number of entities including the European Union, the African Union, and the African Centre for Human Rights Studies, Parliament of Ghana, and ECOWAS.

Reyhana Masters – Zimbabwe

Reyhana Masters-Smith is an experienced and distinguished Zimbabwean Media and Communications Consultant who has worked as a reporter, editor, media trainer and researcher for many local and international organisations.

Reyhana has served as the Editor for So This Is Democracy, a publication by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) which analyses the political and economic landscape and media policy frameworks in Southern Africa. She has also worked as the Editor and Content Creator for the MISA Regional Website and Communication Portal.

For many years, she worked as the deputy features editor of  The Daily News – the first privately owned daily newspaper established in Zimbabwe in 1999 and as the Moderator of the African Media Barometer, an analytical tool that measures the national media environments on the African continent.

Currently, Reyhana Masters is the Sub Saharan Africa regional editor of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and also serves as the chairperson for the Information for Development Trust- an investigative journalism media hub she co-founded.

Samba Badji – Senegal

Samba Dialimpa Badji is a Senegalese media professional of great repute, having worked with several local and international media organisations in his brilliant career. Samba Badji was a Senior Producer for the French Service of the BBC from March 2010 – Nov 2014.

He was the Media and Communications Manager for West and Central Africa Regional Office of Save The Children, international organisation that promotes children’s rights and provides relief for children in developing countries, from December 2014 – November 2015. He has also worked for Radio France International. As a freelance media specialist, he has conducted several training programmes for journalists across the world.

Currently, Samba Badji is the Deputy Editor of the French version of the fact-checking platform, Africa Check and a lecturer at the Ecole Superieue de Journalisme des métiers de I’internet et de la Communication (Ejicom).

Blame Ekoué – Togo

Blame Ekoué is an experienced Togolese journalist and editor who has been corresponding for many local and international media organisations.

Blame has worked as the deputy editor of the West Africa Revue, and he has been contributing to the Lome-based Business and Finance magazine since 2015. He has also previously reported for Associated Press and Radio France International.

Currently, Blame Ekoué is a correspondent for the BBC and for Paris-based media house, African News Agency (ANA).