Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Landmark 20th CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2015 with Zain Asher and Mark Masai set to celebrate journalism with 700 guests in Nairobi.

A large group of the continent's media and journalists are set to converge on Kenya's capital Nairobi - Africa's Green City in the Sun - from Thursday for the auspicious CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2015 taking place for its landmark 20th time this year.

The 20th CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2015 will be held on Saturday evening in Nairobi's  Kenyatta International Conference Centre, refurbished to the tune of millions earlier this year for the state visit of America's president Barack Obama, with CNN International's Zain Asher and NTV's Mark Masai.

It's here, in the continent's most prestigious annual competition to reward excellence in African journalism, where journalists from across the African continent will be honoured on Saturday night and where an expected 700 guests will converge.

Chosen from entries spanning 39 African countries, journalists will be honoured in various categories for their great reporting work in various mediums - telling harrowing, moving and important stories to their readers, listeners and viewers through inserts, interviews and articles often sourced and produced under extremely difficult circumstances.

The competition was last held in Nairobi a decade ago, in 2005.

While the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards usually alternates between South Africa and different African country from one year to the next, the awards ceremony which was held last year in Tanzania, is taking place in Kenya on Saturday and not in South Africa.

CNN International (DStv 401) denies that Kenya was selected to somehow make up for the global news channel's gaffe earlier this year when the East African country was described on CNN as "a hotbed of terror" in July.

After the on-air incident the Kenyan government demanded an apology and Tony Maddox, the executive vice-president and managing director of CNN International personally flew to Nairobi to apologise to Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta.

"The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards have been held in South Africa on several occasions, but there hasn't been a formal arrangement between South Africa and other countries," CNN International told TV with Thinus.

"Our commitment is to the whole continent and we will always try to go to new locations when logistics and circumstances permit."

CNN International says CNN and MultiChoice decided upon Nairobi as the location for this year's CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards very early this year and that this has been long in the planning well before the summer.

Besides Zain Asher well-known CNN reporters are set to attend the 2015 CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards and who have covered and continue to cover the African continent incisively.

Barring any breaking news commitments, Robyn Kriel who joined CNN International from eNCA (DStv 403) earlier this year covering East Africa, David McKenzie who moved from China to South Africa to covering Africa again and Soni Methu, the presenter of the magazine show Inside Africa will all attend the awards.

Over the next few days journalists and the 31 finalists will attend various media forums with topics like "20 Years of African journalism", Storytelling in the digital age" and hear more about Africa's developmental challenges. On the itinerary is also a tour of the SuperSport studios.

CNN doesn't want to reveal exactly what and how the 20th CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards will be different on Saturday but says "it will be fantastic to be joined by the vast majority of previous winners on the night".

"As well as recognising the very best of African journalist from the last year, the event will be a real celebration of 20 years of the awards. Special video content has been created which will draw on the experiences of some of those who have been involved and made the awards so special over the years".