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26.11.2008 Sports News

Ghanaian wins top journalism award

Ghanaian reporter Ibrahim Sannie Daara has scooped one of the best awards in the world of international journalism.

The BBC journalist, along with his two colleagues Gavin Lee and Edward Main, won the Best Sports Story of the Year award at the prestigious Foreign Press Association Media Awards (FPA Media Awards) in Britain on Tuesday night.

The award is massive accomplishment for Mr. Sannie as winning a FPA Media Award is justly seen as the crowning achievement of any journalist's career.

Their investigation exposing conmen masquerading as agents in African football edged out stiff competition from the UK's Observer Newspaper and Bloomberg TV of the United States to win the award at the event presided over by the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles.

The investigation was acclaimed worldwide, as fake agents in Nigeria were exposed for exploiting many poor young Africans footballers who were conned out of thousands of dollars in the sophisticated scam.

Many of the world's major broadcasters, newspapers and news magazines were among the large number of entries for the eleven awards but the BBC dominated the event.

This year's ceremony at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in central London marked the 120th anniversary of the FPA, which was founded in 1888 to help journalists from across the globe report on events.

Mr. Sannie joined the BBC in 2004 after working with Choice FM in Ghana and also as the Accra correspondent for South African broadcaster SABC TV Africa.

He has secured exclusive interviews with leaders in world football from Fifa president Sepp Blatter, Caf boss Issa Hayatou and Uefa president Michel Platini as well as German legends Franz Benkenbauer and Lothar Matthaus.

The Ghanaian has also interviewed almost all of Africa's top players of the present and past generations including George Weah, Abedi Pele, Samuel Eto?o, Stephen Appiah, Michael Essien, Emmanuel Adebayor and Amr Zaki.

Sannie gained international prominence in 2001 when his personal appeal to Fifa earned Ghanaian goalkeeper Sumaila Abdallah the Fifa Fair Play Award for saving an opponent's life during a game through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

His tremendous reporting and humanity at the Accra Sport Stadium on 9th May, 2001 when 126 fans perished during a local league game was also highly praised.

While reporters and fans rushed home to watch a UEFA Champions League game on television immediately after the infamous match between arch-rivals Hearts of Oak and Kotoko, Sannie stayed behind to discover the gory sight.

He broke the news on radio with a brief report before joining the few fans at the stadium to give first aid to the injured and helped to evacuate the dead as the emergency services delayed in arriving.

Sannie graduated from Cardiff University with an MA in International Journalism and incidentally his summa cum laude thesis was on: 'The exploitation of African footballers in Europe'.


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