Thursday, June 05, 2014

Nigerian Newspaper Editor and Mexican Freelance Journalist Win Premier International Journalism Award

Miss Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye.

NEW YORK, June 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Nigerian editor and a Mexican freelance journalist whose investigative reports exposed companies that seriously endangered public health have won the 2014 Knight International Journalism Award, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) announced. The award recognizes outstanding news coverage that makes a difference in the lives of people around the world. Miss Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, the editor of Nigeria's Sunday Punch newspaper, revealed that a manufacturing plant's fumes were making its neighbors seriously ill. Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab, a freelance reporter in Mexico, showed how companies flagrantly violated the law, in some cases causing massive deaths and injuries.

Click here for the full report.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

100 Citizen Journalists Mobilized for Community Health in the Niger Delta

 Knight International Journalism Fellows Babatunde Akpeji and Cece Fadope with Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka "Orikinla Osinachi", Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report Online, Nollywood Mirror, Nollywood Digital and other publications in print and electronic media.

Over 100 citizen journalists are being trained to use mobile phones to report on vital health issues affecting people in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
The project was launched by Babatunde Akpeji, a Knight International Journalism Fellow with the International Center for Journalists in Washington, D.C and  funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, and is affiliated with the African Health Journalists Association, a PanAfrican organization based in Lagos, Nigeria.

 Cece Fadope talking to the participants in one of the training sessions.

 A participant receiving a Samsung Galaxy S5 from Declan Okpalaeke.

Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka "Orikinla Osinachi", Nigeria's most powerful Citizen Journalist and founder of Citizen Journalists Association of Nigeria (CJAN) joined the citizen journalists in their last training workshop of the Vital Voices for Health program, which is now part of the HALA Nigeria Project on  Saturday, March 1, 2014 at the Aldgate Congress Resort Hotel, Abacha Road, GRA in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

A participant receiving a Samsung Galaxy S5 from Cece Fadope.

The training was organized by Mr. Babatunde Akpeji. Babatunde Akpeji, a Knight International Journalism Fellow who is building a network of citizen journalists to cover health in Nigeria’s Delta region, an area rich in resources but wracked by severe poverty. The citizen journalists use mobile phones to send information to media organizations in Lagos and Abuja, ensuring better coverage of health problems related to poverty and environmental concerns. Through this program, major media organizations will greatly expand the amount of information they bring to the public about the Niger Delta, and marginalized communities will gain a voice in the media. During his fellowship, Babatunde also mentors health journalists in the Nigerian capital Abuja. These include journalists at Daily Trust, the most prominent newspaper in Northern Nigeria, where a previous Knight Fellow, Sunday Dare, established a weekly health section.

The following are the names of the citizen journalists who have benefited from the training so far:
1.  Tivie Gideon
2.  Charles Ukorebi
3.  Assim - Ita Bernedette
4.  Uche Doris Ogadinma
5.  Jona Gbemre
6.  Odey Sunday
7.  Efanga Alali
8.  Keziah Clifford
9.  Akiri Murphy
10. Christabel Ene
11. Blessing Orijos
12. Prince Barbs Pawuru
13. Uba Ibegwura
14. Christopher Clifford
15. Akpotu Monday Ziworitin
16. Tontiemotei Yeiyei
17. Fineface Dumnamene
18. Elder Dandy Mgbenwa
19. Ikechukwu Cyprian Ahaka
20. Barigha Inango Mercy
21. Letam Noble Bere
22. Williams I. Bitere
23. Damian Gbogbara
24. Grace George
25. Esther Ndeesor
26. Ifedishu Marian
27. Maclean Ayebakuro
28. Leraka Nuka Martins
29. Memesi Ogaga
30. Nduka Agunyai
31. Needom Emmanuel
32. Nornubari Kote
33. Osimini Eugene
34. Owolo Santus
35. Santus Nubari Gift
36. Ogori Michael
37. Walter Destiny Biolagha
38. Christopher Keni Ogbudu
39. Jack Jackson
40. Eso Oyenike Lenient
41. Yahaya Otaru Abdullahi
42. Imonima Oghenero Goddey
43. Olajumoke Aderonke Moradeyo
44. Adeuga Adedunmola
45. Akhihiero Ojeisemi
46. Oluwayemisi Akindejoye
47. Isijola Kikelomo
48. Daniel Edobor
49. Tietie Osagie
50. Hayble Morrison
51. Odofin David O.
52. Olorunfunmi Oludayo Samson
53. Emefiele Efom Miriam
54. Isabor Dorcas
55. Owolabi Bunmi
56. Falokun Success Desayo
57. Alasa Zekeri Ikelebe
58. Aiyede Femi Thomas
59. Olakoyenikan Oluwaseun


“Hala Nigeria: Many Voices, Better Lives,” an unprecedented project that brings together five Knight International Journalism Fellows to pool their expertise, will increase public engagement and amplify citizen voices in health news in Africa’s most populous country.

The project, which means “Speak Out, Nigeria,” is using new digital tools to spur citizen engagement and promote data-driven reporting to take advantage of Nigeria’s new open data movement. It is also organizing public events around key health issues and engaging citizen journalists to expand coverage into neglected regions.

The fellows are collaborating with a wide range of partners, including media organizations, academic institutions and health experts. Partners include:

Code4Nigeria, an open data initiative that connects government, media and civil society to ensure greater transparency and accountability by making official data available to the public.

Hacks/Hackers Lagos, a group of journalists and technologists who build and adapt tools that newsrooms can use to increase transparency and accountability. It will offer data boot camps and hackathons.

African Health Journalists Association (AHJA), a Pan-African network of journalists who cover health problems, policies and services. AHJA provides resources and training opportunities for health journalists across the continent.

Four members of the team are based in Nigeria:

Declan Okpalaeke, a veteran health journalist and trainer who is co-founder and director of AHJA. He serves as the lead editorial strategist and media trainer for Hala Nigeria. He will supervise a nationwide health story contest that will reward the best stories that engage the public. The top prize: Technology fellows will be embedded in the winning newsrooms to train journalists to use the latest digital and data tools.

Oluseun Onigbinde, the project’s lead innovator. He is creating and adapting digital tools to enhance public engagement. Onigbinde also is leading training workshops to ensure that journalists make the best use of new tools and resources. He is also linking journalists to technologists to promote ongoing collaborations that result in innovative media coverage of health problems and services.

Cece Fadope, a media consultant with extensive expertise in building partnerships and managing projects. She is leading a “listening campaign” to survey citizens, journalists and civil society organizations about their health priorities, enabling the project to focus on the issues that matter most to Nigerians. She also is organizing public events such as town hall meetings in collaboration with media organizations and other partners.

Babatunde Akpeji, a multimedia journalist who has built a vibrant citizen journalist network in the Niger Delta. He will expand the network, give its members new tools to engage other citizens, and connect their work to the broader Hala project.

The Fellows work in close collaboration with Knight International Journalism Fellow Justin Arenstein, who is based in South Africa and serves as chief digital strategist for ICFJ and for the African Media Initiative, based in Kenya. Arenstein was instrumental in launching Code4Africa in Kenya, Ghana and South Africa, and guided the creation of Hacks/Hackers chapters in 13 African countries. He has also launched the African News Innovation Challenge, a contest that provided funding for projects across the continent that are changing the way media organizations use data, engage citizens, tell stories and sustain themselves financially. The Knight Fellows working on the Hala Nigeria project are funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Attacks on the Press: Journalism on the World's Front Lines

Everyone who can read and really wants to know the challenges and dangers of being a journalist in the world today, should get copies of Attacks on the Press: Journalism on the World's Front Lines (Bloomberg) by Committee to Protect Journalists (2013).

Book Description
February 19, 2013 1118550552 978-1118550557 1
The world's most comprehensive guide to international press freedom
From Aleppo to Zacatecas, Beijing to Brasilia, the past decade has seen a sharp rise in the number of journalist imprisonments, assassinations, and disappearances worldwide. Caught between warlords and religious extremists, corrupt police and drug cartels, and hemmed in by increasingly oppressive censorship laws, journalists have never been at such peril, nor asked to pay such a high price for the ethical practice of their profession.
Begun as a simple typewritten list in 1986, Attacks on the Press has grown to become the definitive annual assessment of press freedoms globally. Compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists, it provides up-to-the-minute analyses of media conditions, press freedom violations, and emerging threats to journalists in every corner of the world.
In this 2013 edition, you will find front-line reports and analytical essays by CPJ experts covering an array of topics of critical importance to journalists, including:
  • Journalist casualties at the front lines of conflicts in Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, and other global hot spots
  • The curtailment of Internet freedoms across Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on the draconian measures now in place in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand
  • The status of investigations into the disappearances of 35 journalists worldwide, and why more than half of those disappeared went missing in Mexico and Russia
  • The rise in journalist imprisonments globally, the spate of new anti-terrorism laws that made it possible, and the example set by the U.S. government in the wake of 9/11
  • The state of journalistic freedoms in Iran since the Green Movement and the practice of summary imprisonment of Iranian journalists
  • How the rise of mobile Internet technology and social media has engendered new dangers for journalists from both insurgent groups and the governments they are fighting
In addition to being an invaluable source of timely information and guidance for media professionals, Attacks on the Press gives voice to journalists globally, providing them with a platform for direct advocacy with governments and a seat in discussions at the UN, OAS, EU, AU, and other official bodies.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Orikinla Offered Residency at the Famous Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Orikinla Offered Residency at the Famous Tyrone Guthrie Centre 

Award winning Nigerian artist and writer Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka Orikinla Osinachi has been offered residency at the famous Tyrone Guthrie Centre for creative artists at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland.

 Orikinla who is also Nigeria's most influential citizen journalist started writing professionally at 18 as a scriptwriter for the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Channel 10 in Lagos in the early 1980s and his drawings for books have been exhibited in Japan when he was 20.  He is the author of Children of Heaven (1987), Scarlet Tears of London (2006), Bye, Bye Mugabe (2008), In the House of Dogs (2011), Diary of the Memory Keeper (2013), The Prophet Lied (2013), co-author of Naked Beauty (2006), The Language of True Love (2006) and also the most prolific African blogger with over 30 blogs of which the most popular is Nigerians Report Online and Publisher/Editor of Nollywood Mirror, the most circulated publication on Nollywood in paperback, hardcover and Amazon Kindle. He started his Screen Outdoor Open Air Cinema and launched the Screen Naija One Village, One Cinema Project in 2013 and recently started Nollywood Digital that will have an annual Nollywood Digital Cinema Fair every summer. His new social media project iPost Nigeria has attracted the attention of major international companies and organizations.

Orikinla is expected to complete his theatrical work "Chi Amanda" during the course of his residency. "Chi Amanda" chronicles the lamentations of three women from the three dominant tribes in Nigeria who fled from different agonies of domestic violence and also tackles the plight of a young woman with the burden of unwanted pregnancy. Orikinla's last major theatrical work "Sleepless Night", the first play on the martyrdom of Chief MKO Abiola and the June 12 Crisis was premiered in July 2002 at the old French Cultural Center in Ikoyi, Lagos. It was co-sponsored by United Artists for Human Development (UAHD), French Cultural Center and Dele Momodu, Publisher of the popular Ovation International magazine. The cast was from the famous Crown Troupe of Africa led by Segun Adefila featured in the award winning documentary "Bariga Boy". See full biographical profile on http://www.changemakers.com/users/michael-chima-ekenyerengozi.

The centre has since hosted people such as Michael Harding, Loreena Mckennitt, Oonagh Kearney, Derval Symes, Page Allen, Roisin Meaney, Anne Rigney, Gemma Browne, Colette Bryce, Phil Coulter, Brian Kennedy and Peter McCann.

The Tyrone Guthrie Centre is a centre for creative artists at Annaghmakerrig, Newbliss, County Monaghan, Ireland, founded in 1981. The mansion was the family home of theatrical director Sir William Tyrone Guthrie (2 July 1900 – 15 May 1971).

 The centre accommodates eleven residents and there are five self-catering cottages plus a facility and studio for a disabled artist and carer. Each artist must apply individually to the Board of Management and submit examples of their work. To be accepted as a resident, an artist must have demonstrated a proven track record in their field. Facilities include a baby grand piano, seven studios for visual artists, a performance space, an acoustic recording studio, a dark room for black and white photography and a recently added print studio. The ethos of the house is focussed on facilitating creative work within a welcoming, homelike and trusted environment. The only condition of residency is that all the artists must assemble for the evening meal. This was one of the terms of Guthrie’s will as he felt that conversation over good food would encourage creativity and collaboration. The Centre was one of the first North/South collaborations in the early 1980s and was managed as a joint venture by the Arts Council of the North and South of Ireland. Many artists have commented on the fact that a stay in the Centre has given them the time and space to produce creative work and it is no exaggeration to describe the Centre as a place of heightened creativity. -

See more at: http://www.nigeriansreport.com/2014/03/orikinla-offered-residency-at-famous.html#sthash.RQ8DR0KV.dpuf

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Monday, March 03, 2014

Lupita Nyong'o and Steve McQueen Make History As "12 Years a Slave" Wins 3 Oscars!

Kenyan actress Lupita Amondi Nyong’o has become the first Kenyan to be nominated and also win an Oscar by winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards held in Los Angeles, California on Sunday night for her role in the movie "12 Years a Slave" that won the Academy Award for Best Picture and also making history as the first movie from a black director to do so in 86 years of the Oscars. Steve McQueen, the British director was ecstatic as his film also won Best Adapted screenplay.
“Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live, this is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup,” said McQueen in his acceptance speech. The 2013 historical drama film is an adaptation of the 1853 memoir of the same title by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free negro who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery. He worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for twelve years before his release. The first scholarly edition of Northup's memoir, co-edited in 1968 by Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon, carefully retraced and validated the account and concluded it to be accurate. "12 Years a Slave" received critical acclaim following its release in 2013, and was named the best film of the year by several media outlets. It also proved to be a box office success, earning over $128 million on a budget of $20 million. In 2014, the film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) recognized the film with a Best Film award and a Best Actor award for Nigerian born British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Lupita Nyong'o celebrates her Oscar win in Fred Leighton gold jewelry. (PRNewsFoto/LoveGold) "When I look down at this golden statue may it remind me, and every little child, that no matter where you are from your dreams are valid," she said.  Lupita Nyong'o made history by becoming the first Kenyan to win an Oscar. "You are the pride of Africa!" President Uhuru Kenyatta exclaimed on Twitter celebrating Kenya's first major Oscar win by actress Lupita Nyong'o. "It is our intention that Lupita becomes the first of an endless line of Oscar nominees and winners from Africa and Kenya," he said. Read full report on Nigerians Report Online.
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Sunday, July 07, 2013

Screen Naija One Village, One Cinema Project: The Revival of Outdoor Cinema in Nigeria


~ By Basil Chukwuezi

My earliest memories of the cinema were those of the mobile screen on the fields of St George’s school Aba, south eastern Nigeria. Growing up then, it was commonly used as a medium of information, entertainment, and yes, merchandise. The organizers will mount the screen on the roof of their travelling van and project whatever old western, public enlightenment or product advertisement repertoire they had.
 The screenings were always at night and they would drive down the neighborhood that evening to announce the programme over booming speakers. And expectedly we children and adults alike will gather faithfully to watch their offerings and listen to whatever products they had to advertise which were also sold during intermissions. It served as entertainment and diversion, but equally fired the imaginations of not a few of us. Later on in my undergraduate days film and television were an integral part of my curriculum in Theatre Arts, and you can bet I enjoyed such courses. My national youth service at the National Theatre, Lagos also exposed me to a lot of films both local and international. And as a reporter on the Arts Desk at Guardian Newspapers, Lagos, I did a bit of film critique.

I was thus at home during the recent launching of Screen Naija One Village, One Cinema Project in Lagos. Initiated by my friend and business coach, Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, it is an ambitious programme to use the power of outdoor cinema to bring entertainment, education and information to the door steps of villagers spread across the 774 local governments in Nigeria. It will also empower the youths and create an initial direct employment for over 4,000 people which will also benefit their dependants.

Famous British trained Nigerian actress Dame Taiwo Ajai-Lycett said this much when she challenged Nigerian youths and others not to rest on their oars after getting their academic degrees and diplomas. She said even without degrees they could fulfill their dreams and achieve greater things for themselves and Nigeria with their special skills and talents as many proven successful achievers have done without academic qualifications. Interestingly, the Bank of Industry has bought into this vision and will provide loans to individuals to buy the projector and screen. The loan facility will be repaid over two years after which the equipment reverts to the borrower. There will be initial training and retraining for operators to ensure they reap the full benefits of the project. The pilot launch in Lagos is meant to be a catalyst.

The real deal is to see this project permeate the remotest corners of the nation and have the villagers enjoy what normally is available in the high streets of Lagos or London. It is you would say a democratization of the cinema industry! What is your role? No matter where across the globe you are reading this, if Nija blood flows through your vain, then you have some relatives in one of the local governments. You can empower them by linking them to the organizers of this project. You may just have taught them how to fish! For more information, email: publisher@nigeriansreport.com

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Africa opens another chapter in fight against human trafficking

15 Apr 2011 17:24 Africa/Lagos

Africa opens another chapter in fight against human trafficking

ADDIS ABABA, March 25, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Africa has launched a new two-pronged campaign to operationalise its four-year old continental instrument to address the challenges of trafficking in persons, particularly women and children through regional workshops and the launching of the African Union's Initiative against Trafficking (AU.COMMIT) in the Regional Economic Communities (REC”s). The latest initiative, a joint programme of the African Union, ECOWAS, the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) and the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), would develop a road map for implementing the Ouagadougou Action Plan agreed by the African Union in 2006.

“The workshop is of critical importance to countries of Africa and to the Regional Economic Communities (REC's) considering that it is the second in a series of planned launches of the COMMIT campaign that has the critical goal of aligning the Ouagadougou Action Plan with those of the various REC's,” ECOWAS President Ambassador Victor Gbeho said in a message to the workshop and launching for West Africa on Wednesday, 24th March 2010 at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Ouagadougou Action Plan prioritizes a host of activities for implementation, reflecting the dimensions of the scourge in the areas of prevention, creating awareness, victim protection and assistance, instituting an appropriate legal regime, policy development, law enforcement, cooperation and coordination.

“Exploitation lies at the centre of the concept of trafficking in persons,” Ambassador Gheho said in a message read by Commissioner Adrienne Diop to the 60 participants at the three-day workshop, blaming “certain social and economic realities” for this burgeoning criminal enterprise, particularly the “widespread poverty, unemployment, conflicts, political oppression and insecurity.”

The AU's Commissioner for Social Affairs, Bience Gawanas said the enactment of instruments such as the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the Ouagadougou Action Plan have served to galvanise member states, resulting in a virtual doubling of the number of states that have enacted anti-trafficking legislation between 2003 and 2008.

These instruments, she further said, have contributed to securing more convictions of traffickers and the rescue of an increasing number of victims and blamed the uncoordinated and slow criminal justice response system as well as the vulnerable economic environment and volatile political situations for the increasing number of trafficked persons. (the complete speech of Commissioner Gawanas is available on the AU website: www.africa-union.org)

In her speech, the UN Special Reporter on Trafficking in Persons, Joy Ezeilo warned that the current global economic crunch could ‘exacerbate the desperation and the quest for human security, survival and development that fuels the trafficking in persons.'

“Trafficking for exploitation is more likely to escalate particularly during this global economic crisis and increasing poverty caused by massive unemployment and the employer's tendency to use cheap labour in order to cut costs and maximize profits,” she told the participants.

In order to address this aspect, the UN official called for training for labour inspectors to enable them to appreciate the interface between migration and trafficking and to enhance the mechanism for the identification of trafficked persons in exploitative and mixed migration situations.

While taking measures to address the root causes, she said “innovative approaches” were needed to combat the huge problem of human trafficking through the synergy of international, regional and national strategies that will address all the dimensions of the scourge.

Furthermore, she urged AU Member States to urgently adopt national work plans, establish an agency or institution specifically with responsibility of coordinating action on human trafficking, and appoint a national reporter to oversee the progress and fast track data collection and ensure proper coordination of anti trafficking efforts. In order to address the cross border dimensions of the challenge and secure the welfare of the victims, she stressed the need to partner with other regions and regional institutions such as the League of Arab States and countries in the Middle East to protect and promote the well-being of trafficking victims.

In opening the workshop, Nigeria's solicitor general said the country had demonstrated its commitment to domesticate relevant international instruments against trafficking in persons by enacting a local legislation that was signed into law in 2003, making the country one of the few in the world with specific national legislations against the activities of human traffickers.

Specifically, he said the establishment of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other Related Matters in August 2003 represents a “strong demonstration of the government's resolve to protect vulnerable citizens, especially women and children to secure the future of our youths.”

In January 2007, the African Union through its Executive Council Decision endorsed the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children. The decision called upon the Chairperson of the AU Commission in collaboration with IOM and other partners to advocate for the implementation of the Action Plan.

Moreover, it urged the Commission and the IOM to assist Member States with the development and implementation of sound migration policies aimed at addressing this scourge. Under the Ouagadougou plan, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission is required to file periodic reports on the status of implementation of the plan. In addition, it called on the international community to continue providing assistance towards the attainment of the objectives contained in the Ouagadougou Action Plan.

Source: African Union Commission (AUC)

A Girl from Nigeria

Whatever Peter Abel, a celebrated undercover reporter, has been through before, nothing prepares him for the murder of his friend and colleague by suspected women traffickers. Abel gets deeper into trouble with the heinous syndicate of international criminals when he tries to save an underage girl, Alice, who is about to be raped in Lagos. But soon Alice disappears leaving behind a devastated mother, and a violent father.Abel s search for Alice takes him through various human trafficking routes, to destinations including the United States and the United Kingdom. Abel is threatened, shot at and even framed for murder in the US, but he knows he will never find peace until he avenges his colleague s murder and saves Alice, even if it is from the laps of a US Congressman in Washington D.C.

About the Author
Bisi Daniels is the pen name of the prolific writer, Bisi Ojediran. A graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon, he is now the Chairman of the Editorial Board of THIS DAY newspaper. Prior to that, he was Business Editor of two of Nigeria's most influential newspapers, including The Guardian, before he started work in the oil industry. He joined Elf Petroleum as Media Relations Manager in 1995, moving on to Shell Petroleum, and has recently returned to journalism.Bisi has now written over twenty books, including eight novels.