Finalists of the 1997 African Journalist of the Year Award, organized by the African Journalist Foundation in conjunction with CNN International and support from Business in Africa Magazine, were announced today in London, after the competition, now in its third year, received a record number of entries.
The finalists across the four categories of print, TV, radio and photography were: Thomas Olukayode Abimbola, Guardian Press, Nigeria; Nicky de Blois, Sunday Times, South Africa; Daniel Mensah Brande, GBC, Ghana; Linus Kaikai, KTN, Kenya; Newton Kanhema, Sunday Independent, South Africa; Mutahi Mureithi, Nation Group, Kenya; Ibim Semenitari, Telcom, Nigeria; Angie Kapelianis, SABC Radio, South Africa; and Ronel van Zyl, SABC, South Africa.
The winners of each category and the winner of the overall Journalist of the Year Award will be announced at a gala dinner at the Sandton Hilton in Johannesburg on Friday 20th March 1998.
Judging of the entries was completed last week in London by a distinguished panel of judges, all of whom are African or have a strong commitment to Africa. These included Richard Paris, Editor, Business in Africa; Kaye Whiteman, Managing Director, West Africa Magazine; Phil Molefe, Head of TV News, South African Broadcasting Corporation; Joel Kibazo, Markets Correspondent, Financial Times of London; Elizabeth Ohene, Deputy Editor, BBC Focus on Africa; Michael Coulson, Editor, Financial Mail of South Africa; and Ingrid Formanek, London Deputy Bureau Chief, CNN International.
Over 1100 entries from 138 individual entrants were submitted from several African countries, in particular from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.
Chairman of the judging panel Joel Kibazo commented: "The purpose of the competition is to applaud journalism at all levels throughout the African continent. We have seen some very talented entries this year and hope that even more journalists will be encouraged to enter their work next year."
The competition is being generously sponsored this year by SABC; South African Airways; Protea Hotels; Aerial Empire; Radio 702; Apple Computers; Sony; Reebok; Esom Alintah and his Fortune Group; Coastal Television Network; Independent Television Network, Tanzania; Caisse International of Cameroon; Camerapix of Kenya; and Minaj Television of Nigeria. It is open to all professional African journalists who have been reporting from and about Africa and are based there. Last year Kenneth Opala of 'The Nation', Kenya, won the top accolade, the Grand Prize, for his portfolio of articles on tourism, aviation, transport and economy.
"We are delighted at the record number of entries we received this year," said Edward Boateng, African Regional Director for Turner Broadcasting System Inc., CNN International's distribution arm, and Acting Chair of the African Journalist Foundation. "Good journalism is critical to the economic development of Africa and its people and deserves to be recognized."
Among the prizes are a CNN-sponsored training course in Atlanta; cash prizes; satellite dishes; SABC training; Radio 702 training; a Business in Africa freelance contract; Sony equipment; Apple computers; airline tickets to Johannesburg; and Reebok merchandise.
ISSUED BY CNN INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS - LONDON
Contact: Claudia Coles - Tel: 44 171 307 6244