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
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 www.nabj.org, or contact Ryan Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.