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Isu Elihle 2019 Awards for Innovative Journalism about Children

South African based media watchdog, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), in partnership with Media Network on Child Rights and Development (MNCRD) in Zambia, and Save the Children International (SCI) are investing towards innovative children’s reporting through the Isu Elihle Awards.

Application Deadline: 23rd September 2019

Eligible Fields: All; seasoned journalists, fresh young talents, photographer, editor, in print, digital, radio, TV or the web.

About the Award: In a first of its kinds for our continent we are launching awards for media professionals that seek to encourage fresh reporting, innovative angles, insightful investigations and those that seek to give children a voice and elevates the status of the child in Africa.  Whether you are a seasoned journalist, a fresh young talent, photographer, editor, in print, digital, radio, TV or the web – we want your story ideas.  So get thinking!

Type: Contest

Eligibility: Please note by submitting your entry, you confirm that you have read and agree with the following rules:

  1. The Competition is open to professional journalists, whether directly employed or freelancers, working in the continent of Africa.
  2. No entry fee is payable.
  3. Employees and their immediate families of Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) are not eligible to participate in the competition.
  4. The Competition is held in English. Therefore all entries and story ideas should be in English.
  5. Applicants are strictly limited to a maximum of one entry; however, each media house can have as many applicants as it wishes.
  6. Entries should be made in accordance with the instructions given on the competition entry form and must be submitted on, or before, 00:00 (CAT) 23 September 2019. After this date, no extensions will be made to this closing date.
  7. Late, incomplete, illegible and/or fraudulent entries will be disqualified.
  8. MMA reserves the right to refuse entries that do not comply with the above rules. No correspondence will be entered into in this regard.
  9. A panel of distinguished, independent judges with appropriate knowledge and experience of children and the media will judge the competition. The panel of judges will be determined by MMA in their sole discretion.
  10. No handwritten applications will be accepted. All applications must be completed online using the online form, which is available here.
  11. The judges reserve the right to transfer entries for consideration in other categories at their discretion, for instance the new Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category.
  12. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  13. The top six journalists including the Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category winner, selected by the panel of judges will be taken to the final story-writing round of the competition. MMA will provide financial support to enable the journalists to write and complete their stories in the timeline provided.All finalists will be individually responsible and accountable to MMA for their costs. The journalist is also required to provide MMA with invoices and supporting documents for all expenditure on the account. Any irregular expenditure will lead to the finalist being disqualified and being held liable for the amount.
  14. Should MMA require the top six finalists to travel as part of the Awards or related activities, sufficient notice will be given, however each finalist will be required to arrange for their visas and any other documentation required for travel. MMA will cover for travel and accommodation costs.
  15. Finalists will be expected to be available for the duration of the programme and participate fully in the calendar of events that are expected to take place on those dates as indicated under the Isu Elihle Awards Timeline.
  16. Journalists must acknowledge that this is only a competition and the awarding of any prize does not give rise to an employment agency or joint venture relationship or arrangement between journalists and MMA.
  17. The top six finalists must commit in writing that they will publish the completed story otherwise the journalist may be disqualified.
  18. Individuals and media houses enter this competition at their own risk. MMA and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any injury or accidents, fatalities or damage incurred whilst participating in this competition.
  19. By submitting your entry, you confirm that you have read and agree with these rules and agree that should you be in breach of the terms, you may be disqualified from the competition.
  20. Journalists must submit new story ideas and not ones that have been previously published.

Selection Criteria: Please note that both the story idea and the published story will be judged according to the criteria below.

  • The focus on or extensive voice given to children or an issue that impacts children. Children are defined as any persons between the ages of 0-17.
  • Consideration for the best interests of children and the ethical manner in which children are treated and given a voice in the story (Ethical Guidelines). Journalists must adhere to ethical practices and principles in the planning and execution of the story as MMA will not tolerate the violation of children’s rights in any shape or form.
  • Fresh, innovative, and different perspective to children’s issues and/or investigative angle undertaken to report on issue.
  • Must be able to complete the story in the period allowed.
  • Clarity of the issue and extent to which story engages and captures audiences. The story could be about an area that is not commonly given a children’s angle such as the economy or economic impact on children, land issues, investment or an existing news story and giving it a children’s focus.
  • Stories need to highlight possible solutions to the problem or issues that children face.
  • Extent to which story challenges common negative stereotypes about the roles of children in society, especially within the gender debate.
  • The story should also explore relevant legislation of policy issues related to the issue being explored.

The Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category
The Isu Elihle Mandy Rossouw Accountability prize will be awarded to the best story idea in which the powerful are held to account on issues specifically related to children.
In honour of the late Mandy Rossouw, her journalism and her immense contribution, MMA is proud to announce that the Isu Elihle Awards will now include the Mandy Rossouw Accountability Category for those journalists who are brave enough to take up the courage to hold the powerful to account in the context of fulfilling children’s rights on our continent.”
From the entries we receive in the 2018 Isu Elihle Awards, Judges will select one story idea that is practical, realistic, well planned and geared towards holding the powerful to account with regards to addressing a critical need/s faced by children in a particular country in Africa. Please note: there is no requirement to submit two stories, the judging panel will select this category from all entries received.

Number of Awardees: 3

Value of Contest: The prizes include:

Winner Categories  Financial Support  Cash prize 
Overall Winner R10 000 R25 000
First runner up R10 000 R15 000
Second runner up R10 000 R10 000

*Please note that the amount calculated above is in South African currency.

How to Apply: To enter the Isu Elihle competition, access the application form here

Visit Contest Webpage for details

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