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Manasseh Azure Awuni wins Best Journalist for West Africa

Ghanaian freelance investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni, was last night adjudged the overall best journalist for West Africa at the fourth edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA).

His investigative documentary titled “Grounded Wheels” won the best report in the anti-corruption category and was adjudged the overall best from a total of 740 entries received from 13 countries.

The documentary was produced and aired on JoyNews in February 2019. A member of the judging panel, Joseph Warungu, praised the documentary highly.

“’Grounded Wheels’, which won the anti-corruption category, is a powerful exposition of public waste and the impact it has on ordinary people in Ghana,” said Joseph Warungu, a former head of the BBC African News and Current Affairs Department.

The documentary is about different sets of vehicles that had been imported by government of Ghana and abandoned for various procurement infractions and over-pricing.

Mr Warungu added, “The film is beautifully crafted and well-balanced, and like any good investigation, has credible documents to support the claims it makes. The work is very well done and the story has a good pace.

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“Now this is outstanding television journalism grounded in professionalism,” he said.

Mr Azure Awuni has won the ultimate prize twice in the four-year history of the awards.

In 2018, his “Robbing the Assemblies” investigative documentary was adjudged the best anti-corruption report and it earned him the overall best award.

At the first edition of the award in 2017, he was adjudged the best investigative reporter.

Three other Ghanaians were shortlisted as finalist for the 2020 edition of the awards.

They are JoyNews’ Solomon Joojo Cobbinah and Beryl Ernestina Richter, and TV3’s Adwoa Adobea-Owusu.

Ms Richter, who was a finalist last year, said she felt humbled to be selected out of 740 entries.

She said she would continue to give the microphone to the vulnerable and help alleviate their plight by bringing their problems to light.

The five-member judging panel for this year’s awards was drawn from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.

Winners were presented with plaques, certificates and cash prizes. They would enjoy training opportunities from the Media Foundation for West Africa, organisers of the awards.

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