The 'CNN African Journalist of the Year Competition' was established in August 1995 to encourage, promote and recognise excellence in African journalism. In the early nineties Edward Boateng, then Regional Director of Turner Broadcasting (CNN's parent company), was travelling around the African continent on business. During his travels he became concerned about the lack of respect journalists received and he decided to try and help them gain recognition for their hard work and commitment.
Working with Edward to launch the first competition were Gary Streiker, then CNN Nairobi Bureau Chief, the late esteemed photographer Mohamed Amin and the late Esom Alintah, then Secretary General of the African Business Roundtable. The Competition is for African nationals based on the continent and welcomes entries from journalists who have produced a story whose primary audience are based in Africa.
The first Awards Ceremony took place in Ghana on August 11, 1995. There were six winners that year from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. Since then, 19 more Awards Ceremonies have been held across the continent and the competition has grown into 14 categories which includes a newly added category: The Maggie Eales Young Journalist Award. This is named in honour of the late Maggie Eales, the CNN executive and former journalist who during her 20 year career at CNN was the driving force behind the development and growth of the African Journalist Awards.
Now in its 21st year, the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards are still going from strength to strength and building on their legacy.