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News & Press: News Release

Abducted Women Journalists Honored by Black Journalists Group

Wednesday, May 12, 2010   (0 Comments)
Posted by: ryan williams
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Balama-Samba, Kpaka, Jalloh and Brima Abducted to Prevent Reporting on the Subject of Female Genital Mutilation

Washington, DC, May 12, 2010 -- The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) has the honor of announcing that Manjama Balama-Samba of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) and United Nations Radio, Henrietta Kpaka also of SLBS, and Isha Jalloh and Jenneh Brima, both of Eastern Radio, will receive the organization’s 2010 Percy Qoboza Foreign Journalist Award at its opening reception during the association’s annual convention in San Diego.

The Percy Qoboza Foreign Journalist Award, named for a South African journalist, is given to a foreign journalist who has done extraordinary work while overcoming tremendous obstacles that contributes to the enrichment, understanding or advancement of people or issues in the African Diaspora.

"The abduction and subsequent public humiliation of these journalists was both shocking and appalling,” said NABJ President Kathy Times. "Journalists should not face pressure not to report a story. As journalists, we have a responsibility to bring attention to issues ensuring basic human rights.”
Balama-Samba, Kpaka, Jalloh and Brima were abducted and attacked in February 2009 by the Bondo Society, a women’s group that sought to prevent them from reporting on the subject of female genital mutilation. Balama-Samba was reportedly stripped naked in the bush and later paraded on the streets before being set free. 
"What happened to those journalists should not happen to anyone,” said John Yearwood, co-chairman of NABJ’sWorld Affairs Task Force. "Through this award, NABJ sends a clear message to the Bondo Society and others that this type of treatment of journalists is unacceptable and must stop.”

Just last week lawmakers and social activists from 27 African nations affected by female genital mutilation met in Senegal to discuss how best to end the practice. The group also hopes that the United Nations will present a resolution banning the practice.  According to the U.N., some 3 million women and girls face genital mutilation every year, while some 100 million to 140 million have undergone the practice. The majority of the women and girls live in 28 countries in Africa and Western Asia.

"These journalists sought to report on an issue that leaders from all over Africa thought worthy to discuss. NABJ will continue to do its part to bring attention to the plight of African journalists around the world, and encourage American media companies not to overlook the continent when reporting on international affairs,” Times added.

The NABJ Convention and Career Fair added this is the largest gathering of minority journalists in the country. The awardees will be recognized at the opening ceremony. Balama-Samba, Kpaka, Jalloh and Brima will be joined by other top honorees at this year’s convention, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien for Journalist of the Year, NBC News for Best Practices, and NABJ Founder Paul Delaney for Lifetime Achievement.

NABJ’s 35th Annual Convention and Career Fair will take place July 28-August 1 in San Diego, Calif. For additional information, ticket sales, registration, please visit us at, or contact Ryan Williams at or (301) 405-0248. 

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation, with more than 4,100 members, and provides educational, career development and support to black journalists worldwide.

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