Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Ethiopia Honors Local Journalists On World Press Freedom Day

Posted on May 5, 2012

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The Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Ethiopia (FCAE) held its fourth annual Excellence in Journalism awards ceremony to mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd at Alliance
Ethio-Francaise in Addis Ababa.

The awards’ aim is to recognize the achievements of Ethiopian reporters, photographers and radio journalists and celebrate their success and honor their outstanding work. By promoting excellence in Ethiopian journalism, the FCAE believes the award plays a role in supporting the ideal of a vibrant and professional media.

“The Ethiopian media is often criticized, but the excellent raft of entertaining, informative and critical entries we received demonstrated that there are also many reasons to be optimistic,” said FCAE’s Acting President, William Davison.

The FCAE recognized winners in four categories: Print English, Print Amharic, Photojournalism and Radio. The first prize in the English print category went to Mahlet Mesfin from Fortune newspaper for a news-feature tracking the fallout from the discovery of gemstone deposits in North Wollo. “While other stories were more sensational, Mahlet’s was the best all-round entry we received,” said Davison.

The second prize went to Kirubel Tadesse of Capital newspaper for an exceptional article headlined ‘Press in Exile: An Ethiopian Reality!’ Judges praised Kirubel for boldly tackling a sensitive topic.

The top prize in the Amharic print category was Yemane Negash of The Reporter. He submitted an article about a Tigrayan community that has been shunned by the revolutionary leaders turned politicians whom the villagers had sheltered and fed during the insurgency. “Yemane’s vivid descriptions, clever use of Tigrinya and passion for the subject combine to make a fascinating piece,” said FCAE board member and juror Omer Redi. Second prize went to Elias Mulat of the Amhara Region Mass Media Agency from Bahir Dar.

Both first-place winners received MacBook laptop computers courtesy of the British embassy.

The winner of the photojournalism competition was Mulugeta Ayene of Capital newspaper, who received a Canon SLR camera provided by the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Mulugeta’s photo called “fire wrestlers” shows people living off scrap metal at a garbage dump on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. “The photo is beautiful and also shows Mulugeta’s hard work,” said FCAE board member and juror Luc van Kemenade. “He found out about an important story in a country that tries to fight poverty and managed to document the hard reality in a very engaging way.”

Second prize in photojournalism went to Nahom Tesfaye of the Amharic Reporter, who received a camera bag. The Radio award went to Abinet Asefa of Radio Fana, who was rewarded with state-of-the-art digital recording equipment thanks to the German embassy.

The awards were also sponsored by the European Union Delegation to the African Union, (which provided the runner-up prizes); UNESCO; the French embassy; and the United States embassy.

The Government Communications Affairs Office was invited to sit on the final juries and attend the ceremony, but withdrew its support because it objected to the FCAE awarding the entry about exiled journalists.

The evening was well attended by foreign and local media, the diplomatic community and representatives of the private sector and civil society.

The FCAE is an informal network of journalists working for foreign media in Ethiopia.

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