A reporter with PRNigeria, Mohammed Dahiru Lawal has emerged as the overall Best Fellow in West Africa on the Dubawa, Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) Kwame Kari Kari Fact-Checking and Research Fellowship 2021.
Dahiru clinched the award at the end of the six-month Fellowship programme during dinner and award night which was held at Millionaire Hall, Corinthia Villa Hotel Garki Abuja.
While announcing the Award, the Editor of Dubawa – Nigeria’s first indigenous independent and most visible fact-checking platform in West Africa, Kemi Busari stated that the overall best fellow was selected based on the combination of outstanding fact-checking and conduct during the programme.
Dahiru had during the fellowship in July and September 2021 won the Award for best fact-check of the month making him the only fellow on the programme who won fact-checker of the month twice while it lasted from May to November 2021.
The Kwame Kari Kari Fact-Checking and Research Fellowship which included 19 graduating Journalists from The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone also awarded Lami Sadiq from Daily Trust Nigeria as runner up for the best fact-check and Michael Olatunbosun from Splash FM Oyo-Nigeria as a winner of the second runner up for best fact-check, while the best fact check award went to joint winners Elizabeth Ogunbamowo from Sahara Reporters Nigeria and Kizito Cudjoe from Ghana for their collaborative work on “Examining Buhari’s claim middlemen are responsible for rising food prices in Nigeria.”
Now in its third year, the 2021 cohort started with 22 well-qualified Journalists from Nigeria and other West African countries, representing major media platforms including Punch, Tribune, NTA, Legit among others.
Speaking on the award the Publisher and Editor in Chief of PRNigeria, Yushau Shuaib disclosed that, “beyond Public Relations and Crisis Communication, PRNigeria is proud in also leading in the field of investigative journalism and fact-checking which the latest award to one of our staff, Dahiru Lawal demonstrated.
“We will continue to inspire young communicators to develop interest in public relations and investigative journalism as weapons to fight fake news and hate speech through fact-checking and responsible reportage for national development.”
In his own reaction, Dahiru who recently graduated top three of his class in the Department of Information and Media Studies, Bayero University Kano expressed optimism that with fact-checking entrenched not only in newsrooms but inculcated in Journalism practice the dignity of information dissemination will be restored and trust established between people and the media.
“Whether it’s Fact-Checking Journalism, development or investigative journalism, this award has strengthened my resolve to continue practising this noble profession in a way that will always impact positively on the people,” he said.
A recipient of Campus Journalist of the Year 2020 and Author of 101 Fake News on EndSARS, Dahiru is now head of Fact-Checking Desk at Image Merchant Promotions Limited (IMPR), Publishers of PRNigeria and Economic Confidential. He is also Project Manager, Penlight Centre for New Media Innovation.