Burkinabé journalist Hyacinthe Boowurosigue Sanou has been awarded the top prize at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2015 Awards Ceremony.

Boowurosigue Sanou was awarded the overall ‘CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year’ Award for his work ‘Nuit du 29 octobre à Azalaï : Nous étions à la chambre 143’, which appeared in Burkinabé daily print newspaper L'Observateur Paalga and was chosen from entries spanning 39 nations across the African continent.

Sanou’s work documents the ousting of Blaise Campaore, who had ruled over Burkina Faso for 27 years. 

Boowurosigue Sanou said: “I feel so lucky to be named CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of Year. My story was about power and how people can fight against it – I’m so proud that the story has been told and will now be remembered. I want to share my prize with all those who work at L'Observateur Paalga.”

President of The Republic of Kenya His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta; Tim Jacobs, CEO MultiChoice Africa and Deborah Rayner, SVP International Newsgathering TV and Digital, CNN International, presented Sanou with the Award at a Gala Awards ceremony held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, in Nairobi, Kenya,  Saturday 10th October 2015.

Chairperson of the judging panel, Ferial Haffajee, said: “Room 143 was a work of enterprise.  Burkina Faso’s parliamentary protest saw Blaise Campaore leave his seat and the country. This was a remarkable moment in a newsworthy year. This feature takes the reader to the night before – the night of the long knives when members of parliament attempted to win sufficient support to extend Campaore’s term.  It was not to be and this story explains why not. A piece of dramatic reporting built on the reporter’s clever decision to take a room (143) in the hotel where the action went down.”

Hyacinthe Boowurosigue Sanou, winner in the Francophone General News Award - Print, was among 32 finalists from 15 countries who attended the Awards ceremony as the culmination of a all-expense paid four day programme of workshops, media forums and networking in Nairobi, Kenya.

Deborah Rayner, SVP International Newsgathering TV and Digital, CNN International, said: “Tonight’s winners really demonstrated the very best of journalism – from powerful investigative journalism through to celebratory stories of hope and change. I commend the judges’ decision to name Hyacinthe Boowurosigue Sanou the overall winner - he is a worthy winner of the 20th African Journalist Award.”

Tim Jacobs, CEO MultiChoice Africa, said: “Congratulations to all the winners, your words and images reflect the reality of our world and attest to the important role the media plays in Africa’s development. As a good corporate citizen, together with our partner, CNN and other sponsors we will continue to invest in the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards to ensure increased development and advancement of outstanding journalism across the continent.”

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 U.S. and Canada).

The overall CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2015 wins a substantial cash prize and all finalists receive a cash prize, and iPad Air, with runner-ups receiving an iPad mini.

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Ways to Watch the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards:

The African Journalist Awards will be made available to broadcasters across Africa.

Viewers across the continent and across the world will be able to watch the Awards in the coming weeks and months.

Winners in the individual competition categories are:

CULTURE AWARD, presented by Stephen Isaboke, Regional Director, East Africa, MIH

Winner: Adewale Olugbenga Emosu,, Nigeria

Title: ‘Bahia: Even in Brazil, African heritage lives on’

Judge’s Citation: “The story is about how African culture has been transplanted to South America via slavery. This story showed that over the years, African culture has not only been preserved but thrived – almost more than its origins. The reporter actually went to Brazil for a Sports Fiesta - the World Cup, but then went out of his way to look and discover this story. He did comprehensive work to bring the story to life.”

AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK ENVIRONMENT AWARD, presented by Joel Kibazo, Director of Communications and External Affairs at the African Development Bank Group

Winner: Thomas Naadi Bitlegma, Viasat1, Ghana

Title: ‘The Toxic Trade’

Judge’s Citation: “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.”

FRANCOPHONE GENERAL NEWS AWARD – ELECTRONIC MEDIA, presented by Greg Beitchman, VP Content Sales & Partnerships, CNN International

Winner: Ibrahima Diallo, Radiodiffusion Télévision Sénégalaise (RTS), Senegal

Title: ‘L'action antimines en Casamance: un pas vers la relance des activités...’

Judge’s Citation: “Antimine Action is a brillant piece on the rebirth of a village after it was cleared of mines. The village has been surrounded by mines for 15 years, and all the activities were stopped. With the antimine action, children can go to back to school and play, the farmers can harvest the anacard, and the buyers of cachou can enter the village…. Ibrahim Diallo really does a great job in allowing us to share the feeling of revival of the inhabitants of the village. Sharp pictures, smart editing, a very good TV achievement. Most of all, a great story about relief and hope.”

ECOBANK ECONOMICS & BUSINESS AWARD, presented by Richard Uku, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Ecobank

Winner: Femi Asu, Punch Newspaper, Nigeria

Title: ‘Small businesses in death throes as power supply worsens’

Judge’s Citation: “This is a story about how the lack of stable electricity supply harms small businesses in Nigeria. Femi Asu focused on an issue not particular to Nigeria but to many African countries. With detailed examples, the author demonstrates how businesses are severely affected including in some cases closing down with huge consequences on the country’s economic development. The piece is well written with the reader taken on a journey that highlights the issue with affected individuals and businesses. Excellent research.”

GE ENERGY & INFRASTRUCTURE AWARD, presented by Jay Ireland, President and CEO of GE Africa

Winner: Paul Kelemba, Freelance for The Standard on Saturday, Kenya

Title: ‘Sorting Out Nairobi Transport’

Judge’s Citation: “This was new ground for the judging panel. It is the first time we have awarded a piece of graphic journalism. Infrastructure is an important topic but it is very a difficult story to make interesting and Paul Kelemba has succeeded. He used a full-page graphic in the Saturday edition of the Standard to paint a scenario of how Nairobi’s epic transport problems could be solved. Maddo, as Kelembe is known, included trams, subways, buses and pedestrianised areas to illustrate the various transport options facing one of Africa’s leading cities. The graphic is deeply humorous as he pokes gentle fun at his fellow Nairobians and the people who run the city. A popular winner, we hope that by showcasing graphic journalism, more young artists will turn their attention to using their craft for this exciting new form of journalism.”

MSD HEALTH & MEDICAL AWARD, presented by Hein Garbers, Managing Director, English and Portuguese Africa, MSD

Winner: Enock Sikolia & Charles Kariuki, NTV, Kenya

Title: ‘Osteoporosis in Turkana - Wild West Series’

Judge’s Citation: “This is a story of how Osteoporosis is ravaging a community in the Turkana region of Kenya. The writer’s source is the water in the area. They invested time in research but won the confidence of the community to enable them to reveal what is happening to them. The interviews conducted in a remote and not easily accessible region brought out first-hand the extent of the problem. The camera work leans an indelible work in the mind of the viewer. Above all it illustrated some of the challenges the more remote areas of Africa still have to contend with.”

PRESS FREEDOM AWARD, presented by Ferial Haffajee, Chair of the judging panel Winner: Zacharie Flash Ndiomo, Cameroon

Judge’s Citation: “Imprisoned in terrible conditions, without visitors or access to medicine, even though he was seriously ill. His ‘crime’?  Investigating and reporting on the origin of the colossal fortune of the then General Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, for his bi-monthly newspaper Le Zénith. Zacharie Ndiomo is not the only journalist to be harassed in Cameroon. The rights of the press are continually violated. The police interrogations, arbitrary arrests and financial pressures are increasing. The judging panel award the 2015 Press Freedom Award to Zacharie Ndiomo, as the symbol of the resistance of the Cameroonian journalists in the face of all those who try to silence them.”

MOHAMED AMIN PHOTOGRAPHIC AWARD, presented by Alexandria Madjallah, presenter & producer for AFRICA24 MEDIA

Winner: Herman Verwey, Beeld, South Africa

Title: ‘The Oscar Pistorius murder trial’

Judge’s Citation: “Is it a photo, or is it video …? When you look at Herman Wervey’ work, for a second, you can wonder… The characters are so full of life, these pictures really give you a sense of their feelings. Herman’s body of work gives also a proper idea of the high pressure that surrounded this trial, so important for the South African society… Being able to capture so precisely the inner feelings of the actors of this story is really the sign of the talent and the mastery of a great photographer.”

PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE GENERAL NEWS AWARD – Print, presented by Arlindo Lopes, Acting GM, MultiChoice Angola

Winner: Carla Gonçalves, A Nação, Cape Verde

Title: ‘Memorial Amílcar Cabral vandalizado e tomado pelo lixo’

Judge’s Citation: “This particular story shows the power of journalism and society.  One of them is the positive power not just announcing what is wrong but the positive power in a society, which is educational, also training people for good values in society. Powerful stories like this should be told and governments should be made to be aware of their responsibilities towards the heroes of their countries. The story was told in a very powerful but simple way, which meant everyone else could understand the story. People in top positions in government, ordinary people were told the story in a way they understood it very well.”

PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE GENERAL NEWS AWARD – Electronic Media, presented by Arlindo Lopes, Acting GM, MultiChoice Angola

Winner: Pedro Paxi Pereira Ndoma, TV Zimbo, Angola

Title: ‘Erupçao Vulcanica na Ilha do Fogo’

Judge’s Citation: “This outstanding piece of reporting by a crew of Angola’s privately owned TV Zimbo highlights the destruction to property and displacement of at least 1500 people caused by the volcanic eruption in the Island of Fogo, Cape Verde in 2014. The story was chosen in its category not only because of its environmental impact and bearing on climatic changes, but also the powerful images captured by the TV Zimbo crew. The footage captures the voices of some of those affected by this natural disaster, the second to happen on the island since 1995, causing damages estimated at close to 50 million Euros.”

NEWS IMPACT AWARD, presented by Chris Diaz, Chief Marketing Officer, Kenya Airways

Winner: Ibanga Isine, Premium Times Newspaper, Nigeria

Title: ‘INVESTIGATION: Massacre in Gboko’

Judge’s Citation: “Great journalism has an impact. This series by Premium Times and written by Ibanga Wilson Isine has great impact. A man is shot for straying too close to the perimeter fence of a cement factory in Benue State. He is hurt but not killed.  His community is angry and protests at the gates.  Trigger happy soldiers who protect strategic installations open fire. Seven people are killed. Non-existent. That word best describes the commitment of local police to investigate the killings.   In the gap, Premium Times steps in and ensures the killings are not in vain. The injured are compensated.  So are the families of the people who died. Ibanga stayed with the story in a series of excellently constructed digital articles.”

SPORT REPORTING AWARD, presented by David McKenzie, International correspondent, CNN

Winner: Arukaino Umukoro, Punch Newspaper, Nigeria

Title: ‘Monuments of waste: Nigeria’s white elephant stadiums’

Judge’s Citation: “In this outstanding story by Arukaino Umukoro, from the Punch newspaper in Lagos, Nigeria, the reader is taken on a nationwide journey that illustrates the lack of maintenance in sports infrastructures built at a high cost, a phenomenon that tends to be common in many African countries. The article is both well written and documented with telling pictures of the sorry state in which many sports facilities in Nigeria find themselves. It highlights the fact that, because of the unsuitability of many sports arenas in Nigeria due to neglect, athletes, for instance, are forced to resort to private facilities or travel abroad to prepare for international competitions. The author shows the Surulere National Stadium in Lagos as the worst example of neglected sports facilities. Built in 1972, the stadium has hosted several national, continental and international competitions.”

DOW TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION REPORTING AWARD, presented by Ross McLean, President Dow Sub-Saharan Africa

Winner: Sarah Wild, Mail & Guardian, South Africa

Title: ‘Robot to test health of ocean 'lungs'’

Judge’s Citation: “Sarah Wild delivered an original report on a major innovation in research over global warming, conducted by a South African scientific team. As we get closer to the Paris conference on Climate, it’s an excellent reminder that there are African-led research programs at the forefront of the climate change issue. Sarah Wild transports the reader into the heart of the project, with the team deploying this new generation of sea-cruising robots. We can share the excitement of the scientists thanks to Sarah’excellent writing. It demonstrates that science stories can be as exciting as politics, sports or features when guided by a maestro.”

FEATURES AWARD, presented by Joseph Mathenge, 2014 CNN MultiChoice African Journalist

Winner: Julie Laurenz & Jacqueline Jayamaha, Freelance for, South Africa

Title: ‘Viola's Hope’

Judge’s Citation: “Viola’s Hope held the judging table captivated. The story of a couple hooked on woonga, the cut-price heroin spliced with household products. They need multiple hits a day to function.  What captivates is not their addiction but their obvious love for each other and for their baby Viola. Viola spends days with her parents on the search for a new hit.  Can they ditch the drug? Will they?  What will happen to Viola who has already learnt to play-act the rolling, folding and snorting up she sees her family doing every day.

Tragic. Educative. Committed. The team which brought us this piece spent over a month putting it together and they stayed with their story which was well-shot, produced and written.”

Certificates of Commendation

Again this year the Judges highlighted some excellent work and awarded Certificates of Commendation to 15 journalists:

Fiifi Essilfie Anaman, Freelance for, Ghana

Benedicta Asiimwe, Freelance for Daily Monitor, Uganda

Domingos Bento,, Angola

Sheriff Bojang Jnr, Freelance for West Africa Democracy Radio, Senegal

Ruth Butaumocho, The Herald, Zimbabwe

Chahinaz Samir Gheith, Al-Ahram Hebdo, Egypt

Boldwill Hungwe, Zimbabwe Independent, Zimbabwe

Deo Gratias Tchédé Kindoho, Radio Bénin, Benin

Petride Mudoola, Freelance for Sunday Vision, Uganda

Abubakari Akida Mussa, Mtanzania Newspaper, Tanzania

George Oduor Otieno, Baraka FM, Kenya

Arison Tamfu, Cameroon Journal, Cameroon

Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún, Blogger at, Nigeria

Bento Venâncio, Jornal Domingo, Mozambique

Kiundu Waweru, The Standard on Saturday, Kenya

Source: Press Release