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CNN MULTICHOICE AFRICAN JOURNALIST AWARDS 2009
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Ibiba Donpedro named CNN African Journalist of the Year

For Release: 18 June 2003

Ibiba DonPedro writing for The Guardian, Nigeria, has been awarded the top prize at this year's CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards ceremony. DonPedro was chosen among entrants from 32 nations across the African continent for her story, 'The Travails of the Swamp in a Bleak Landscape'.

Chris Cramer, President, CNN International News Networks and Peter Matlare, Group Chief Executive Officer, SABC, presented her with the award at a gala ceremony hosted by CNN in partnership with the SABC and the Awards sponsors at The Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, this evening (Wednesday 18 June).

Chairperson of the Judging Panel, Dr. Doyinsola Abiola, said: "Her entry demonstrated a level of journalistic excellence and integrity which all of us felt deserved the highest recognition. She is an amazing writer, she tells the story in a beautiful poetic way so the reader cannot put it down. DonPedro's work, along with that of all the finalists, demonstrates the sheer strength and quality of journalism throughout Africa. Each and everyone of the finalists should stand proud of their work."

The overall CNN Journalist of the Year Award prize consists of a trip to CNN Center, Atlanta, with complimentary flights courtesy of South African Airlines; along with the prize awarded to all category winners, which consists of a laptop computer, modem and printer and an additional cash prize.

'These winners represent the best in African journalism," said Cramer. "CNN has always been dedicated to encouraging freedom of speech and maintaining journalistic integrity. We are delighted to see this competition continue to nurture such a diverse range of talent and stories from an ever increasing number of African nations."

The Competition, now in its eighth year, is held in partnership with SABC and in association with Multichoice Africa Foundation, South African Airways and the Wescliff Hotel, Johannesburg (part of the Orient Express Group).

All related flights for the competition and South Africa-based accommodation are provided respectively by associate sponsor South African Airways (SAA) and by official hotel sponsor The Westcliff.

Other prestigious African companies on board as sponsors include: The Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg; IPP Media Group, Tanzania; Merck Sharp Dohme (MSD); This Day; Global Media Alliance - GMA; Freedom Forum; Johnnic Publishing Limited; Camerapix; Kenya; and Reyneke Wines.

Supplementary information on the competition, finalists and sponsors can be found at cnn.com/WORLD/africa/africanawards.

Winners in the individual competition categories are:

Arts & Culture Award: Mpho Moagi, SABC/Special Assignment, South Africa
Business Award: Patrick Maigua, Kenya Television Network, (KTN) Kenya
Environment Award: Ibiba DonPedro, For The Guardian, Nigeria
Francophone General News Award: Claudine Atohoun, ORTB, Benin
Free Press-Africa Award: Walter Marwizi, The Standard, Zimbabwe
Health & Medical Award: Betty Mkwasa, Independent Television Ltd.,(ITV) Tanzania
M.K.O.Abiola Print Award: Gill Gifford, The Star, South Africa
Mohamed Amin Photographic Award Siphiwe Sibeko, The Star, South Africa
Radio - General News Award: Eric Kakore, Radio Simba, Uganda
South African Airways Tourism Award: Maggi Barnard, The Namibian, Namibia
Sport Award: Ambrose Namoyo, Climax Magazine, Malawi
TV - Feature/Current Affairs Award: Anna-Maria Lombard/Alpheus Siebane, SABC/Special Assignment, South Africa

ARTS & CULTURE AWARD: Mpho Moagi, SABC/Special Assignment, South Africa
Topic: Guys and the Ghetto
Judges' Citation: "She is completely invisible in the film...she allows the camera to tell the whole story and yet she takes you right into the centre, the inner belly of the story."

BUSINESS AWARD: Patrick Maigua, Kenya Television Network (KTN), Kenya
Topic: Ecosandals/Wikyo Akala Project
Judges' Citation: "This is really a piece about how poor people can transform their lives. The reporter takes us on a journey. They go into a slum area, show how groups of people are using old tyres to make sandals and not only that, they sell those sandals not only in Kenya but to the rest of the world through the internet."

ENVIRONMENT AWARD: Ibiba DonPedro, Guardian, Nigeria
Topic: The Travails of the Swamp in the Bleak Landscape
Judges' Citation: "It's about communities in the Niger Delta who have suffered as a result of oil production. As a result the Oil Company has got richer and the local communities poorer. The writer tells the story in a beautiful style as she is an incredible writer. Her writing is poetic, you can't put it down."

FRANCOPHONE GENERAL NEWS AWARD: Claudine Atohoun, Office de Radiodiffusion et de la Television du Benin (ORTB), Benin
Topic: NEPAD
Judges' Citation: Here you have an idea that Africans themselves have dreamt up. Africans are trying to implement and people are trying to put meat around this bone that is NEPAD. She starts by drawing a history of the development of Africa, she begins during the days of independence and ends 40 years later,rselves and asks us to put a mirror in front of ourselves, where do we stand now? What does NEPAD represent? How does it set itself apart from other plans that have failed in Africa?"

FREE PRESS - AFRICA AWARD: Walter Marwizi, The Standard, Zimbabwe
Judges' Citation: "The story about this journalist caught the judges' attention. At the time he learnt about it he was working for a small government newspaper in a rural area completely controlled by the ZANU PF militias, and this paper would never have published the story of victims of the soldiers. When he learnt of the story he realised that there was no way he could tell it in his own newspaper, so he approached another newspaper, a privately owned newspaper ...and told them the story about a family and these people who had been terrorised by war veterans and they commissioned the story"

HEALTH & MEDICAL AWARD: Betty Mkwasa, ITV-Independent Television Ltd, Tanzania
Topic: Ukimwi Ni Huu - This is Aids
Judges' Citation: "African journalists are becoming more compassionate, and less sensational in the way they cover stories. The journalist must have spent a lot of time with the victims to gain their confidence and persuade them to reveal their feelings in the way they did."

M.K.O. ABIOLA PRINT JOURNALIST AWARD: Gill Gifford, The Star, South Africa
Topic: A Bullet for an Unborn Baby
Judges' Citation: "This is a very moving and powerful story about a pregnant woman who was shot in Johannesburg during an attempted carjack and the bullet actually goes through to the unborn baby. It is a prize winning piece because it shows how the journalist won the confidence and trust of the family who was then able to tell her their story."

MOHAMED AMIN PHOTOGRAPHIC AWARD: Siphwe Sibeko, The Star, South Africa
Topic: Sibonile School for the Visually Impaired
Judges' Citation: "The images were very positive, very inspiring, very uplifting and technically very good. When we are confronted with images such as these, the natural instinct is to let your humanity take over and you tend to be sympathetic with the people who are physically disabled, but with these pictures you didn't get the same response. I saw these kids just as a bunch of kids - one of the photographs, the choir singing at dawn, is almost Biblical."

RADIO AWARD: Eric Kakore, Radio Simba, Uganda
Topic: The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) Insurgency in Northern Uganda
Judges' Citation: "The piece starts off with gunfire, so you are immediately drawn in and think: what's this story about? Then you have all these people talking about the war. This was a piece focussing on a war zone in Northern Uganda, broadcast by a private radio station in Uganda, telling its audience about the situation in another part of the country under attack form the LRA."

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS TOURISM AWARD: Maggi Barnard, The Namibian, Namibia
Topic: Next Stop: Mondesa
Judges' Citation: "On the face of it, it might appear to be a very simple idea. It is essentially a local person who has seen a gap in the market, and who offers to provide tourists with what she calls the 'real Africa'. It was incredibly well written in the sense that it was easily accessible. One got the sense that you actually got to know the tour operator."

SPORT AWARD: Ambrose Namayo, Climax Magazine, Malawi
Topic: Malawi Cry Mayo
Judges' Citation: "The way he describes a match, a single football match between Malawi and South Africa, was incredible. He kept us in stitches."

TELEVISION FEATURE/CURRENT AFFAIRS AWARD: Anna-Maria Lombard and Alpheus Siebane, SABC Special Assignment, South Africa
Topic: Blood Sweat and Tears
Judges' Citation: "This is a typical story of migrant labourers, in this case Malawians, coming to South Africa seeking to better their lives. They find out they do not have the right papers and are then resigned to working in a sweat shop. The quality of the work was there, the research...the access that they got...it was fantastically done."

Criteria for the awards: Entrants were asked to submit published or broadcast work, or professionally reproduced photographs completed in 2002 for the following categories: General News (print, radio and TV); Business; Environment; Free Press-Africa, Health/Medical; Photography; Sport, Francophone General News; Arts & Culture and Tourism. Reports were submitted in various formats, including photographs, video or audiotapes, written editorial or a combination. Marks were awarded for choice of subject, originality, style and clarity, the structure of the story, balance and level of research.

Note to Editors:
This year's CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards was held in partnership with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) who, in addition to their support of the Awards, will broadcast a highlights programme of the ceremony (see details above).

The Awards ceremony was held in association with South African Airways (SAA), official hotel sponsor The Westcliff; and Multichoice Africa Foundation, and with the support of sponsors The Sandton Convention Centre; Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) South Africa; IPP, Tanzania; Global Media Alliance - GMA; This Day; Freedom Forum; Johnnic Publishing Limited; and Reyneke Wines. The Mohamed Amin Award for photography was sponsored by Camerapix, Kenya.

Judging of the entries was completed in May by a distinguished panel of judges, including Chairperson of the Judging Panel Dr. Doyinsola Abiola, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Concord Press, Nigeria; John Battersby, Group Political Editor of Independent Newspapers, South Africa; Jerri Eddings, Executive Director for the Foundation of AFRICAN Media Excellence (FAME), South Africa; Joel Kibazo, Director of Communications and Public Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat; Jeff Koinange, CNN Lagos Bureau Chief; Maimouna Mills, Executive Producer/Host "Up Close with Maimouna Mills" and Jimi Matthews, Head of News and Current Affairs, SABC News.

The competition is open to all professional journalists based in Africa, with head offices in Africa, who report on African issues.

ISSUED BY CNN PUBLIC RELATIONS

Contact:
Seema Alibhai Tel: +44 207 693 0940 seema.alibhai@turner.com
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Contact in South Africa: Communications Services
Barbara Bester Tel: +27 11 463 1011/Fax: +27 11 463 1323/ commserv@icon.co.za
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