The Commonwealth Observer

Commonwealth writers well represented in Africa-wide contest in Lagos

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Murray Burt
Written by Murray Burt

Tunisian blogger and activist Yassine Ayari, who is serving a one-year jail sentence for a Facebook post adjudged to be defamatory, emerged the Social Media Personality of the Year at the recent ceremony dubbed Night of Virtual Wonders held in Lagos, Nigeria.

Ayari was first sentenced to three years in prison for criticizing the Tunisian Defence Minister through a Facebook post. His lawyers appealed the judgment and Ayari was subsequently sentenced to a year by a superior court.

Development Diaries Ltd/GTE, who convened the #SMAA, event, have condemned the actions of the Tunisian Government and re-affirmed that the right to free speech is a fundamental human right which must not be suppressed or stifled.

Other #SMAA winners include: Ben Kiruthi of Kenya, Blogger of the Year; Michael Hlatshwayo of South Africa, Social Media Hero; and Jimi Tewe of Nigeria, Twitter Handle of the Year.

Others are, Barefootlaw of Uganda, Facebook Page of the Year; The Love Tour, Kenya, Influencer of the Year; DHL Africa (Kenya), Best Use of Social Media by Private Sector; Stand to End Rape, Nigeria, Best Use by Non-Profit.

In other categories, Adforumco, Nigeria won the Best Use by Start-up/MSME; KCB Group, Kenya, Best Use by Financial Institution; Afrinolly, Nigeria, App of the Year; #TheNiteTalk, Kenya , Hashtag of the Year; Raha 2.0, Tanzania, Brand of the Year, and Nigeria Trade Hub, Nigeria, Best Rated Platform.

The purpose of the awards, according to #SMAA, is to recognize and reward excellence, creativity and impact in the use of social media tools and platforms by individuals and organizations in Africa. At the inaugural ceremony, 15 awards across four categories attracted more than 3,000 entries from 26 countries.

—Source AMI

Photo Credit: Michael Garnett / cc

About the author

Murray Burt

Murray Burt

Murray Burt has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, starting as a cadet reporter in New Zealand, and doing two stints with wire services on Fleet Street before settling in Canada in the newspaper business. He is a retired managing editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, and former city and national editor of The Globe and Mail in Toronto. He is a past-president of the CJA and has been a life member since 2003, participating in each of its conferences and CPU’s conferences since 1990. He is a director of the Advisory Council of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, based in New Delhi; president of Manitoba’s newly-reconstituted Royal Commonwealth Society; and has directorships in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (western Canada).

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