Yesterday, BBC announced TV3’s Paa Kwesi Asare as the winner of the 2023 Komla Dumor Award. However, there was some confusion on social media, particularly on Facebook, as some posts claimed that Joy FM’s Paa Kwesi Schandorf was the actual winner of the prestigious award and not TV3’s Paa Kwesi.
Rhema Forson, one of the social media handles that made the post, insisted that the BBC made a mistake in announcing Paa Kwesi Asare of TV3 as the winner as Paa Kwesi Schandorf had initially been contacted by the UK-based media house.
The posts that contradicted the BBC’s announcement garnered a lot of comments, shares and likes on Facebook, leaving many confused about who the actual winner of the Award was. This is also probably because the two share the same first name.
Paa Kwesi Asare is the eighth winner of the prestigious award and the first Ghanaian to clinch the coveted award that was instituted in honour of Komla Dumor, who was a presenter for BBC World News, until his demise in 2014, aged 41.
On his part, Paa Kwesi Schandorf was shortlisted for the Award last year.
In the wake of the controversies, Fact-Check Ghana reached out to the BBC in an email for clarification.
In response to the enquiry, a BBC spokesperson from its Press Office, whose name was only given as Rebecca, insisted that “Paa Kwesi Asare of TV3 is the winner of the 2023 Komla Dumor Award”. The spokesperson added that he had “gone through the necessary steps to qualify”.
Komla Dumor was regarded as one of the best journalists in Africa, described by the BBC as having “worked tirelessly to bring a more nuanced African narrative to the world, representing a confident, savvy and entrepreneurial side of Africa.”
BBC’s response to Fact-Check Ghana clarifies the confusion and puts an end to the controversies about whether the UK-based media house made a mistake in announcing the wrong person as the winner of the 2023 Komla Dumor Award.
Update: Few hours after the publication, Paa Kwesi Schandorf issued a statement affirming our report. The statement confirmed the chronology of events stated in Rhema Forson’s Facebook posts. Schandorf stated that the BBC had earlier sent him a message of congratulations. He said another mail from the BBC asked him to send some details to “process my paper works.”
However, after the BBC announced Paa Kwesi Asare of TV3 as the winner of the Komla Dumor Awards for 2023, Paa Kwesi Schandorf said he sent them a mail to ask for clarifications. He said the BBC responded that the mail sent to him was a “regrettable oversight” and an “error.”