By Ogova Ondego
Published February 27, 2016
African journalists have till March 23, 2016 to hand in their applications for the second edition of BBC World News Komla Dumor Award.
BBC says the winner of the award—named in honour of the late Ghanaian broadcast journalist Komla Dumor whom BBC says “made an extraordinary impact”—will be awarded the opportunity to gain skills and experience, working with teams across BBC News during a three-month placement in London.
The 2nd BBC World News Komla Dumor Award, BBC says, will be “given to an outstanding individual living and working in Africa, who combines strong journalism skills and an exceptional talent in telling African stories, with the ambition and potential to become a star of the future.”
Detailed information on how to apply, entry criteria, and terms and conditions are online at bbc.com/komladumor.
Francesca Unsworth, Director of BBC World Service Group and Deputy Director of News and Current Affairs, says, “The BBC is committed to continuing Komla’s legacy of reporting on this continent by launching his award for the second year. We are searching for a rising star who displays exceptional talent, someone who embodies the spirit of Komla Dumor.”
The 2nd BBC World News Komla Dumor Award “to seek out a future star of African journalism” was launched on February 24, 2016 at the Social Media Week in the Nigerian commercial capital, Lagos.
Nancy Kacungira, the winner of the inaugural award who attended the launch in Nigeria, says, “It felt really good to be able to tell a story from Africa on such a big platform – my stories were seen and heard on BBC TV, Radio and Online. My own values on reporting about the continent – nuance, balance, and authenticity – were a good match for the BBC’s commitment to getting the story right from wherever they report from in the world. I felt supported as a journalist from the continent, to tell the story I wanted to tell in the way that I felt it should be told.”
Africa Debate, the flagship current affairs discussion programme of BBC World Service, was recorded and broadcast from Lagos on February 25, 2016; the programme looks at free speech on social media. The debate asks if social media should be regulated and highlights an issue that is of concern to many Africans who use social media to monitor public officials.
The theme of the debate is informed by a draft bill by Nigeria’s Senate, Tanzania’s Cyber Crimes Law and attempts by various African governments to regulate social media. This is happening at a time when access to social media via smartphones continues to grow across the continent, giving millions the ability to read, post and share content of their choosing online.
While the Nigerian bill proposes to punish anyone who ‘propagates false information’, Tanzania’s law, which came into force in September 2015, makes ‘misinformation and sharing of naked pictures on the internet’ a crime. Kenya, Zambia, Egypt and Ethiopia, on the other hand, routinely arrest journalists, bloggers and activists for publishing or sharing online content that authorities say threaten national security.
Rights activists and critics say the bills, laws and arrest of journalists and bloggers are aimed at censoring free speech on social media where public corruption is exposed. Supporters of the bill, laws and arrest, however, say these efforts are meant to protect society.