Winners Announced – West Africa Media Excellence Awards 2019

Sama Tounwendsida Hugues Richard of Burkina Faso has been named the 2019 West Africa Journalist of the Year for his impactful reporting of mental illness in Burkina Faso.

Richard was one of 21 finalists selected for outstanding reporting in the sub region. He follows former Joy News journalist from Ghana, Manasseh Azure Awuni, who clinched the award last year, and Seth Kwame Boateng, who won in 2017.

“I am honoured to have won this award,” Richard said. “So many people with mental disabilities are neglected and I knew that it was a story that needed to be told to humanise them.”

The Media Foundation of West Africa (MFWA) invited over 300 guests to participate in the 2019 West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA) under the theme “Social Media, Fake News and Elections in Africa.” The three-day event featured renowned speakers from across the sub region who provided insight on key issues surrounding media and the future of journalism on the African continent.

The annual event began on October 17 with a two-day conference that included panel-style discussions on various topics revolving around media across the continent. Editors, managers and influential media practitioners from across West Africa spoke about topics including “Protecting Election Integrity on the Internet” and “Stopping Fake News From Going Viral.”  Various media stakeholders across the continent including Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, The Gambia, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria participated in the event.

On Saturday, October 19th, an Awards Ceremony took place to celebrate and promote media excellence in West Africa. The event also hosted the Continental Journalism Award on AU Charter which honoured African journalists who are producing high quality reports on the African Charter on Democracy, Election and Governance (ACDEG).

Destiny Onyemihia from the Voice of Nigeria emerged the overall winner for the Continental Journalism Award on AU Charter. Wagdy Sawahel from University World News – Africa Edition, Egypt and Momar Niang from Ouestaf News, Senegal followed as first and second runner up winners, respectively. All events took place at the Swiss Spirit Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana.

Destiny Onyemihia – Overall Winner, Continental Journalism Award on AU Charter Source: Kobby Blay

The Awards Ceremony’s Guest of Honour, Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Information Regulator of South Africa, delivered remarks on the power of journalists throughout the continent despite the many trials they face.

“The profession of journalism is challenged, particularly with the rise of fake news and misinformation,” she said. “This requires journalists to recommit themselves to the code of ethics.”

In addition to Richard’s win at the West Africa Media Excellence Awards, seven other journalists were awarded for impactful storytelling and in-depth coverage of pertinent subjects in Africa. The winners and categories include:


Category: Anti-Corruption

Winner: Seriba Kone

Media House:

Country: Cote D’Ivoire

Source: Kobby Blay


Category: Health

Winner: Sama Tounwendsida Hugues Richard

Media House: L’Observeteur Paalga

Country: Burkina Faso

Source: Kobby Blay

Category: Investigative

Winner: Cletus Umoh Ukpong

Media House: Premium Times

Country: Nigeria

Source: Kobby Blay

Category: Human Rights

Winner: Tobore Ovuorie

Media House: The Nation Newspaper

Country: Nigeria

Source: Kobby Blay

Category: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Winner: Nabil Ahmed Rufai

Media House: GHOne TV

Country: Ghana

Source: Kobby Blay

Category: Telecommunications and Information Communications & Technology

Winner: Kunle Adebajo

Media House: ICIR

Country: Nigeria

Source: Kobby Blay


Business and SMEs

Winner: Tunde Ajaja

Media House: Punch Newspaper

Country: Nigeria

Source: Kobby Blay

Joy News’ Mamavi Owusu Aboagye and the MFWA’s Rachad Bani Samari served as Masters of Ceremony for the event. Facebook, The U.S. Embassy of Ghana, The Hewlett Foundation, Access Now, MTN, DW Akademie, Stanbic Bank and Alisa Hotel were the event’s supporters.

Share this story!

Related Stories