By Henry Uche
Nigeria Health Watch (NHW) invites submissions and nominations as it announces its second edition of the #PreventEpidemicsNaija Journalism awards 2021 ceremony, to celebrate evidence-based and accurate reporting of epidemic preparedness in Nigeria.
A statement delivered by the communications manager, Uche Nwagboso, revealed that nominations would close on Sunday, January 2, 2022, and winners will be announced at an award ceremony on January 28, 2022.
The #PreventEpidemicsNaija Journalism award honours journalists who have reported on all dimensions of epidemic preparedness in Nigeria in digital/print, audio and video formats.
Recall, COVID-19 pandemic heightened the need for accurate information, and journalists were challenged in their work, keeping pace with the rapid transition of the pandemic while at the same time providing timely and quality editorial.
The flow of misinformation in the midst of the global pandemic placed journalists in a vital role, requiring additional efforts to communicate clear and evidence-based editorial at the height of the global health crisis.
According to the statement, It is important that the vital role of the media is recognised and the aim of the #PreventEpidemicsNaija Journalism awards was to further elevate their roles as the fourth estate, as they frame the issues of the day, providing a critical channel that defends the public interest, ensuring the public has access to information.
In the statement, the Managing Director of the Health Watch, Vivianne Ihekweazu, asserted that, “stories that report on epidemic preparedness and response in Nigeria are extremely crucial in ensuring that Nigerians are well informed on the current state of epidemics in the country,”
Ihekweazu further stated that, “winning entries feature great storytelling that educates its audience, keeping them informed and empowering them to advocate for more sustained funding and support that would ensure that epidemic preparedness and our health security is a national priority.”
For the programme manager- Prevent Epidemics project, Beti Baiye said, “Media engagement is a core part of the prevent epidemics project. Since inception, our partnerships with journalists have helped drive our advocacy and we are delighted for this opportunity to recognise their good work and celebrate them,”
Baiye added, “The judges will recognise works that highlight and scrutinises the critical aspects of any outbreak response: epidemic preparedness, surveillance/detection and critically sustained and stable funding. There is need to improve policy maker awareness on infectious diseases and defines the role of citizens in demanding increased funding for epidemic preparedness in Nigeria.”
Nwagboso in the statement maintained that, to be eligible for the 2021 awards, journalists across Nigeria are invited to send in work published or broadcast from January to November 2021. Published submissions from freelancers are also welcome.
“Print and broadcast journalists are eligible for nomination if they have written an article or produced a radio or television programme that contains a minimum of 650 words published in a print or digital news platforms and written in English; or if such work(production) was aired in 15 minutes or longer for Radio /TV.
“Other criteria for eligibility includes: For print and digital platforms, the Journalist must have been written and published two (2) or more articles on themes below; while for Radio & TV: The Journalist must have produced two (2) or more shows on the themes hereunder.
“The nominated article, programme or production shall capture the following themes and must have been published or aired between the periods of January 1, 2021, to November 30, 2021. The themes spelt that, the Journalistic works must communicate the many dimensions of epidemic preparedness in Nigeria, inform Nigerians on the current state of epidemic preparedness in Nigeria, with a special focus on funding, highlight and scrutinize budgeting and funding for epidemic preparedness in Nigeria, improve community awareness on infectious diseases as well as empower citizens to demand more funding for epidemic preparedness and hold power to account. Awards nominations can be submitted online.
“Journalists, readers, media institutions or other interested individuals such as civil society and academia may submit nominations. Each valid nomination must contain the name of the nominee, verifiable details of the published article(s) or programme(s), their media affiliation(s), the contact information (email address and phone number) of the nominee. Multiple submissions are encouraged.”