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Innovation success in Middle East, Africa and Turkey

The GNI Innovation Challenges, part of Google’s $300 million commitment to help journalism thrive in the digital age, have seen news innovators across the world step forward with many exciting initiatives demonstrating new thinking.

The 3rd Middle East, Turkey and Africa Innovation Challenge launched in February 2022, and received 425 applications from 42 countries – a 27% increase in overall applications. After a rigorous review, a round of interviews and a final jury selection process, 34 projects were selected from 17 countries to receive $3.2 million in funding.

This Innovation Challenge saw a significant increase in applications from news organizations undertaking fact checking activities: an increase of 118% when compared to previous Innovation Challenges in the region. Proposed projects which use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) also showed significant growth (92%), reflecting a trend across the news ecosystem to embrace cutting edge new technologies and data.

The call for applications listed five criteria: impact on the news ecosystem; innovation; diversity, equity and inclusion; inspiration; and feasibility – and the chosen projects clearly demonstrated all five. Here’s a selection of the successful recipients (you can find the full list on our website):

  • Dubawa, Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development from Nigeria, an online-only publisher, will introduce automated radio fact-checking.
  • Majarra from the UAE will apply AI and ML to use readers’ data to better help them navigate their website and be more inclusive to female subscribers.
  • The Bridge Across the Abraham Accords project: In an industry-first initiative, Tel Aviv-based Israel Hayom and Abu Dhabi-based Al-Ittihad will collaborate to give readers of both news organizations the ability to share news and comment in the same multilingual environment.
  • Minority Africa from Uganda is designing and implementing a web distribution application that will make it easier for newsrooms publishing under a Creative Commons license to have more control of their work.
  • Quote This Woman+ from South Africa will build a tool to provide women+ (identified as women, people living with disabilities, LGBTQI+, rural and religious minorities).
    sources to newsrooms and journalists to diversify sources in news coverage.
  • Dipnot from Turkey, a TV company, will create COM+: a multi-screen OTT platform for curated news in Turkey.

The successful recipients will be embarking on their projects later this summer and will share their learnings with the wider news ecosystem.


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