Two investigative stories published by The Fourth Estate have been nominated for two international journalism awards.
The Licensed Sex Predator documentary has received a nomination for the People Journalism Prize for Africa (PJPA) while The COVID-19 spraying scandal initiated by President Akufo-Addo is among the 2022 longlist for the popular features category of the global One World Media awards, organised by the UK-based One World Media Foundation.
Organisers of the One World Media Awards said they received more than 600 entries from across 101 countries and territories, up from 94 countries last year. The Fourth Estate’s story on The COVID-19 spraying scandal initiated by President Akufo-Addo has been nominated in that category alongside works from the BBC, Deutsche Welle (DW), Reuters and other international media organisations.
“The quality and diversity of the entries were outstanding and it was tough to choose only ten in each category. But the results are in now and we are honoured to announce the longlists across all 15 awards! The final three nominees in each category chosen by our esteemed panel of judges will be announced by 4 May and the winners will be presented at the Awards ceremony on 16 June 2022,” One World Media said.
They further explained that the stories that have made the longlist for 2022 highlighted stereotypes, “changed narratives and connect people across cultures”.
The COVID-19 spraying scandal initiated by President Akufo-Addo is an investigative documentary produced by The Fourth Estate’s Editor-in-Chief, Manasseh Azure Awuni. It reveals shady dealings and acts of corruption in the sole-sourced contract awarded to the beleaguered waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited. The story highlights how an order by President Akufo-Addo for the fumigation and disinfection of schools and markets in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in Ghana was neither backed by science nor common sense.
The story also revealed that despite the existence of multiple contracts for fumigation and disinfection across the country, however, the president authorised yet another fumigation exercise. This was in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak, which Scientists at the University of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology said even if there were COVID-19 cases in the schools before they were shut down, the virus would have died after three months.
The Licensed Sex Predator, which has been nominated for the People Journalists for Africa category in the People Journalism Prize for Africa, alongside five others, exposed a self-styled physiotherapist, “Dr” Jonathan Ohene Nkunim of the Nature’s Hand Therapeutic Centre, who used his registered practice to sexually assault women seeking healthcare.
The investigation, which lasted for more than a year, provided incontestable evidence leading to the arrest of the perpetrator, who is facing prosecution.
Organisers of the People Journalism Prize for Africa (PJPA) said the decision to shortlist journalists like Manasseh Azure Awuni is based on the journalists’ dedication to serving society with their craft.
“This is an initiative to recognize and reward journalists, citizen reporters, and social justice newsmakers on the continent who have advanced society through their journalism and acts of journalist courage,” the organisers said in a press statement.
This recognition comes within a year of the existence of The Fourth Estate, a non-profit journalism project of the Media Foundation for West Africa.
This is not the first time the two stories nominated for the awards have attracted the attention of the journalism community.
In January this year, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN), an international hub for the world’s investigative reporters, named the “The Licensed sex predator, among the top 10 best investigative stories from the continent in 2021.
Extolling the story, the GIJN said, “Ghana’s latest investigative journalism nonprofit, The Fourth Estate, created by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), was the force behind one of the most consequential investigations to come out of Africa this past year,” it said.
It continued: “Braving harrowing testimonies from victims and disturbing evidence from an undercover investigation, reporter Manasseh Azure Awuni exposed a health practitioner who used his registered practice to sexually assault women seeking reproductive treatment and support. The three-part series is one of those instances where an undercover investigation provides irrefutable evidence, despite denials by the perpetrator.
“Eventually, the overwhelming proof against that proprietor led to his arrest and confession, putting to an end to his exploitation of desperate victims.”
The GIJN also named The COVID-19 Spraying Scandal Initiated by President Akufo-Addo as one of its most outstanding stories for the month of January 2022.