2015 CNN Multichoice African journalists’ awards: Ghanaian Thomas Naadi Bitlegma wins AfDB environment award

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The judges of the CNN MultiChoice African Journalists of the Year 2015 have announced that Thomas Naadi Bitlegma of Ghana has won the prestigious African Development Bank (AfDB) Environmental Journalist Award.

Bitlegma, who works for the TV station Viasat1 in Ghana, was given the award for his piece “The Toxic Trade”, which examines the problem of electronic waste.  The winning piece was chosen from entries spanning 39 nations across the African continent.

AfDB’s Director of Communications and External Relations, Joel Kibazo, presented the award:  “The AfDB is delighted to support this award for two reasons.  First, because we want to promote deeper and wider media coverage of the issues of social and economic development.  At the moment, African media do not do this sufficiently well: they need to understand development – and to help others to understand it and engage in it.  Second, because the issues of the environment and climate change are central to what the Bank does.  We just announced at the World Bank-IMF Meetings in Lima that we will triple our annual climate financing to nearly $5 billion by 2020.  Promoting green growth is one of the two overarching objectives of the AfDB 2013-2022 Strategy.  We congratulate Thomas for a great piece of work, and an important one too.”

For its part, the judging panel said: “The Toxic Trade story drives home a point to African TV audiences. Thomas Bitlegma skilfully narrates the menace of electronic waste in Ghana like many African countries, while at the same time impacting their health negatively. It is a timely coverage of a real time problem. His story is compelling as it demonstrates the danger for kids, adults and social health in Ghana. He merits this award for he was simple but deep in presenting the problem.”

The Awards, which rotate location each year in tribute to their pan-African credentials, were held at a gala ceremony hosted by CNN and MultiChoice at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The overall CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2015 wins a substantial cash prize and all finalists receive a cash prize, and iPad Air, with runners-up receiving an iPad mini.  For more information, news and updates visit:www.cnn.com/africanawards

The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2015 competition is open to African professional journalists, whether directly employed or freelancers, working in the continent of Africa who have produced a story which has been made available as a printed publication or broadcast through an electronic medium (television, radio or digital platform) whose primary audience are based in Africa. 

The independent judging panel, included renowned media actors chaired by Ferial Haffajee, Editor-in-Chief, City Press, South Africa; Debo Adesina, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Newspapers, Nigeria; Nima Elbagir, Senior International Correspondent, CNN; Jean-Paul Gérouard, Editor-in-Chief, France Télévisions; Fernando Gonçalves, Editor, Savana, Mozambique; Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism, University of the Witwatersrand; Joel Kibazo, Director of Communications and External Relations, African Development Bank Group; Amadou Mahtar Ba, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, AllAfrica Global Media; Wanja Njuguna, Senior Lecturer, Polytechnic of Namibia & CNN Journalist of the year 2000; José Sebastião Paulo, Professor of Journalism, University Agostinho Neto, Angola; and, David Ohito, Digital Editor, The Standard Media Group, Kenya.

Now in its 20th year, the Awards are supported by a range of prestigious sponsors:  A24 Media, African Development Bank, Dow, Ecobank, GE, IPP Media and MSD (MSD is known as Merck in the US and Canada).

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