June 25th, 2011

Kenyan Fatuma Noor named CNN Multichoice African Journalist 2011

Fatuma Noor from Kenyahas been awarded the top prize at this year’s CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2011 Awards Ceremony. 

Fatuma Noor, who works for The Star Kenya, won for her investigative three-part series on the ‘Al-Shabaab’, which was chosen from among 1407 entries from 42 nations across the African continent.

The series tells the story of the young men who give up their freedom abroad to return and fight for the ‘Al-Shabaab’ in one of the world’s most dangerous places on earth –Somalia. 

Fatuma Noor was one of the 27 finalists at the Awards ceremony on Saturday evening and was a winner in the category ‘General News Award (Print).’

The Awards, which rotate location each year in tribute to their pan-African credentials, were held at a Gala ceremony hosted by CNN and MultiChoice at Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa this evening, Saturday 25th June.

Nolo Letele, Executive Chairman, MultiChoice South Africa and Parisa Khosravi, Senior Vice President of international newsgathering for CNN Worldwide presented Fatuma Noor with the Award.

Fatuma said: “I want to thank my mum and my boss Catherine, who believed in me when no one else did.  There was a time in my life when I thought about giving up, but with this Award I’m not giving up any time soon.”

Chair of the judging panel, journalist and media consultant Joel Kibazo said: “The judges were impressed with the high quality of entries to the competition this year, and this intrepid young journalist has shown great courage and determination in going the extra mile to tell this fascinating story. Fatuma Noor’s three-part series on the Al-Shabaab provides a detailed and personalised portrait of the young men who leave their comfortable western lives to join one of the world’s most ruthless militant groups in Somalia.”

Parisa Khosravi, Senior Vice President of International Newsgathering for CNN Worldwide, said: “Tonight’s journalists join an ever-growing community of excellence, each one representing the very best in African journalism. The collective talent celebrated here this evening is a sign of the increasingly assured voice in whichAfricais telling its unique and myriad story. I congratulate them all.”

Nolo Letele, Executive Chairman MultiChoice South Africa group said: “We are proud of our long-standing partnership with CNN for these awards. And we are even more proud to play a part in telling the stories of Africa. It is thanks to the excellence of these journalists that Africahas a voice on the international stage. Our warmest congratulations go out to the winners.”

Collins Khumalo, President MultiChoice Africa, said: “Congratulations to all the 2011 winners, we hope the acknowledgment you’ve received this year will inspire you to continue telling the African story to the world. Although there can only be one overall winner, we’d like to salute each and every journalist that entered. Without your hard work and support, the ongoing development of democracy and diversity of the media across the African continent would not be possible.”

The evening also recognised Mahamud Abdi Jama as this year’s recipient of the Free Press Africa Award, for his work in Somalia. His situation was noted by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) in New York. He wrote a critical article about the government there and was jailed for just over a month and released when pressure was put on the government of Somalia.

The CNN MultiChoice competition is now in its 16th year. The prestigious sponsors include: African Development Bank; Coca-Cola Africa; Ecobank, IPP Media, Tanzania; Ericsson; Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD); Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind the BlackBerry® solution; South African Tourism and A24 Media. The Sandton Sun Hotel, Johannesburg is the delegate hotel for this year’s Awards.

The Awards’ 27 finalists from 13 countries enjoyed an all expenses paid five day programme of workshops, media forums, networking and had the opportunity to see some of the sights of Johannesburgprior to the Awards Ceremony.

Ways To Watch the African Journalist Awards:

Viewers across the continent and across the world will be able to watch the African Journalist Awards in the following ways:

  • M-Net will broadcast the ‘Highlights Programme’ of the Award Ceremony in July.
  • Broadcasters in 45 countries on the African continent will be transmitting the ‘Highlights Programme’ during July.
  • Internationally, the ‘Highlights Programme’ will be shown on BEN TV in the UK, The Africa Channel in the United States/UK and on RTP Africa.
  • CNN International’s longest-running feature programme, ‘Inside Africa’ will include a report on the Awards on Saturday 2 July at 1730 BST.

The overall CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2011 wins a substantial cash prize, a visit to CNN Centre inAtlanta, to attend the three-week CNN Journalism Fellowship, along with the prize awarded to all category winners, which consists of a laptop computer, printer, a BlackBerry and a cash prize.


Winners in the individual competition categories are:

ARTS & CULTURE AWARD, presented by Mwambu Wanendeya, Vice President and Head of Communications, Ericsson sub Saharan Africa (Pty) Ltd.

Winner:  Kofi Akpabli, Freelance for DailyGraphic,Ghana.

Title: ‘What is right with Akpeteshie?’

Judge’s Citation: “Kofi Akpabli’s story uses the most enriching and fantastic language to explain why Akpeteshie, a local brew, is the equivalent of a liquid national heritage. Kofi not only educates and enlightens us to the history and best practices of this national beverage – but he also does it with humour and style.  A worthy return winner.”

DIGITAL JOURNALISM AWARD, presented by Craige Fleischer, regional

director for Southern Africa at Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind

the BlackBerry® solution.

Winner: The Dispatch Online Team on behalf of ‘The Daily Dispatch’ inSouth Africa.

Title: ‘Failed Futures’

Judge’s citation: “This website won because, for the second year in a row, the ‘Daily Dispatch’ team has displayed a wonderful creativity to produce first class journalism with the new tools of the digital age. The website is about the many problems, but also the hopes and dreams of the teachers and pupils of a very poor area of Eastern Cape, South Africa. The Mbizana area has one of the worst records for education inSouth Africa.”

ECONOMICS & BUSINESS AWARD, presented by William Asiko, President of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation.

Winner:  Sylvia Chebet and Kimani Githae, Citizen TV,Kenya.

Title:  ‘An uphill task’

Judge’s Citation:  “The story highlighted the fact that in spite of the millions of dollars spent on ensuring wide coverage, there are still potential profit centres not yet reached. This story demonstrates that the demand inKenya is there.”

ENVIRONMENT AWARD, presented by Richard Uku Head, External Relations & Communication, African Development Bank.

Winner:  Lamia Hassan, Business Today Egypt, Egypt.

Title:  ‘Washed up’

Judge’s Citation: “She covered a fairly technical subject – the environment in simple but attractive language. It is an issue we are seeing in many parts ofAfrica.”

FRANCOPHONE GENERAL NEWS AWARD: PRINT, presented by Ethar El-Kataney, Egyptian journalist and winner of the 2009 Economics and Business Award, CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.

Winner: Rabin Bhujun, L’Express Dimanche,Mauritius.

Title: ‘Le vrai pouvoir des castes’

Judge’s Citation: “This story stands out in the Francophone Print category as yet another master piece on investigative journalism in Mauritius. In his insightful account about the casts’ influence on the political system – one of the un-stated realities of Mauritius – Rabin demonstrates integrity, well-organised research and good writing skills.”

FRANCOPHONE GENERAL NEWS AWARD: TV / (RADIO), presented by Ethar El-Kataney, Egyptian journalist and winner of the 2009 Economics and Business Award, CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.

Winner: Claudine Efoa Atohoun, ORTB, Benin.

Title: ‘Le barrage de Nagbéto: Outil de développement ou source de nuisance’

Judge’s Citation: “The ‘Nagbéto Dam’ story stood out among Francophone Radio entries as an excellent piece of radio journalism. Claudine demonstrates good journalistic skills – research, balance and clarity – and tells a very relevant story through a competent use of radio techniques.”

FREE PRESS AFRICA AWARD, presented by Joel Kibazo, Chair of the judging panel.

Winner: Mahamud Abdi Jama,Waaheen Media,Somalia.

Judge’s Citation: “The freedom to operate as a journalist is at the core of the media industry and this award is acknowledgement and recognition of the efforts Mahamud has gone to, in order to tell the story.”

HIV/AIDS REPORTING IN AFRICA AWARD, presented by Sam Rogers, CNN MultiChoice African Journalist, 2010.

Winner: Beryl Ooro, K24 TV, Kenya.

Title: ‘HIV infection among senior citizens in Kenya’

Judge’s Citation: “The story is brilliant and fascinating. For too long, the story of HIV / AIDS pandemic in Africa has been told that one begins to wonder if there is anything new to say. And then, here is a story that throws up an entirely new perspective which shows that an age group (octogenarians) hitherto considered not at risk can also be vulnerable.”   

MSD HEALTH & MEDICAL AWARD, presented byAshley Pearce, CEO MSD South Africa.

Winner:  Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye,Sunday Punch,Nigeria.

Title:  ‘Luth’s Ransome – Kuti’s Children’s Centre’

Judge’s Citation: “It is a good investigative story, well written yet told in a simple manner. It is activism journalism at its best, since after the story was published something was done to improve the situation.”

MOHAMED AMIN PHOTOGRAPHIC AWARD, presented by Salim Amin, Chairman, A24 Media.

Winner: Norman Katende, freelance for The New Vision, Uganda.

Title:  ‘When death strikes’

Judge’s Citation: “This entry was not chosen for the depth of its composition or the framing. When you are shooting within minutes of a massive bomb-blast, those elements of photography are not top of mind. Instead, these shocking, heart-breaking images won for news value, for flashing across the globe the pain of the Ugandan bomb-blasts that placed such a pall over the World Cup.”

PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE GENERAL NEWS AWARD, presented by Arlindo Lopes, media consultant

Winner: Selma Marivate, TV Miramar, Mozambique.

Title: ‘O Movimento Rastafari em Mocambique’

Judge’s Citation: “This story stood out in the Portuguese language category as a comprehensive piece of TV journalism, an in-depth account of a group of followers of the Rastafari movement in Mozambique. It is a well balanced story, with a wide range of interviews, beautiful video shots and soundbites, which makes it a reference in this particular category.”

PRINT GENERAL NEWS AWARD, presented by Sebastian Ashong-Katai,

Group Head Financial Institutions & international organisations, Ecobank group.

Winner: Fatuma Noor, The Star,Kenya.

Title: Investigative three-part series on the Al-Shabaab’

Judge’s Citation: “The judges elected this story in its category but also unanimously agreed this was the overall winner of the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2011.  It is an investigative story about the Al-Shabaab, which brings to the fore an insight view about the militia group, through comprehensive accounts from its own recruits and representatives, as well as through the journalists own experience of a dramatic encounter with armed militiamen in Somalia.  Thanks to Fatuma’s excellent writing skills, the story also emerges an engaging piece of reading.”

RADIO GENERAL NEWS AWARD, presented by, Graham Wood, Managing Director – Southern Sun Hotels.

Winner:  Melini Moses, SABC,South Africa.

Title: ‘Hillbrow – Den of Iniquity’

Judge’s Citation: “Melini brings the listener on a journey of discovery to a neglected, crime-ridden and rundown area ofJohannesburg. Her ability to describe the small details makes the audience feel that they are there walking the streets with her. Melini is a true story-teller and a clear winner in this category.”

SPORT AWARD, presented by Collins Khumalo, President MultiChoice Africa.

Winner: Kamau Mutunga, DN2 Magazine, Daily Nation, Kenya.

Title: ‘Soccer and Superstition (Animal body parts and snake blood on the pitch)’

Judge’s Citation: “This is an informative romp through the story of superstition in soccer in Kenya. It is elegantly written and while it spans several decades, it moves quickly and with a light touch. A sidebar shows this is by no means only an African issue – it gives insight into all countries from France to Brazil. “

TELEVISION – GENERAL NEWS – FEATURE/CURRENT AFFAIRS AWARD, presented by Reginald Mengi, Executive Chairman, IPP Media, Tanzania.

Winner:  Lindile Mpanza, e.tv, South Africa.

Title: ‘Silence of the innocents’

Judge’s Citation: “The story won because it was well researched and comprehensive. The reporter went to the village where she spent some time and spoke to all the dramatis personae – the young girls that are being kidnapped, the men who do the kidnappings, parents of the abused girls and the police.  It is a great piece of journalism which exposed the debilitating practice that many people ordinarily will not associate with a country as developed as South Africa. It is everything that good television story should be – absorbing and flawless delivery.”

TELEVISION – GENERAL NEWS – NEWS BULLETIN AWARD, presented by Jeff Kupsky, President, Turner Broadcasting System Europe Ltd.

Winner:  Farouk Kayondo, UBC,Uganda.

Title:   ‘Watching in the hood’

Judge’s Citation: “The story is a winner because it’s well told and it focussed on the other side of Johannesburg that’s easily forgotten during such big events. No one is too poor to catch the soccer actions, according to the story.”

TOURISM AWARD, presented by Thandiwe January-McLean, Chief Executive Officer, South African Tourism.

Winner:  Benon Herbert Oluka, DailyMonitor,Uganda.

Title: ‘Why Ugandans would rather watch goat races than visit their national parks or heritage sites’

Judge’s Citation:  “This story won because it displays a very well documented work on the reasons why Ugandans don’t go to visit their own museums and national sites.” 

Again this year the Judges highlighted some excellent work and awarded Commendations in nine categories. These journalists participated in the finalists’ programme in Sandton and received a cash prize and Certificates of Commendation:

Sonny Serite, Freelance for The SundayStandard,Botswana

Virgil Augustin Pascal Houesson, L’événement Précis, Benin

Nigel M. Nassar, The NewVision,Uganda

Portia Solomon, TV3 News, Ghana

José Bouças de Oliveira, Televisão Santomense, São Tomé

Nkula Zau, Televisão Pública de Angola, Angola

Kipchumba Some, The Standard,Kenya

Nnamdi Okosieme, NextNewspaper,Nigeria

Mark Klusener, eNews Africa,South Africa

Note to Editors:  Competition Criteria 

To enter the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2011 competition the journalist must be an African national and work on the continent for African owned, or headquartered, media organisations that produce a printed publication or broadcast through an electronic medium (television broadcaster, radio station or website) primarily targeted at and received by an African audience. All winning entries were broadcast or published during January – December 2010

**Criteria change 2011**

This year, it was decided to reduce the number of entries submitted by an individual journalist to two stories across all categories, ensuring that journalists carefully reviewed their stories of 2010 and focussed on their best one or two stories of the year.  

Note to Editors:

The independent judging panel, chaired by Joel Kibazo, Journalist and Media Consultant, includes: Ikechukwu Amaechi, Editor, Daily Independent, Nigeria; Jean-Paul Gérouard, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, France 3 TV; Ferial Haffajee, Editor-in-Chief, City Press, South Africa; Arlindo Lopes, Media Consultant; Zipporah Musau,  Managing Editor,  Magazines, The Standard Group Ltd, Kenya; Kim Norgaard, CNN Bureau Chief, South Africa and this year CNN’s sports anchor Pedro Pinto joined the panel to assist in the judging of the Portuguese General News Category.

MultiChoice Africa Corporate Social Responsibility:

MultiChoice Africa, the continent’s leading satellite pay TV service, is committed to building a sustainable business in Africa as well as to investing in corporate social investment projects which contribute to the growth and development of the continent.  The key focus is on education and the uplifting of the communities in which MultiChoice does business.  To this end, MultiChoice Africa has established more than 1000 MultiChoice Resource Centres in 27 countries across Africa. These school Resource Centres are set up in partnership with government to help improve the quality of educational resources by using technology and rich education channels from DStv.

Turner Broadcasting Corporate Social Responsibility:

Over the last three years Turner staff have raised almost $250,000 to build schools in Mali,Rwanda and Malawi, and these have featured on CNN’s ‘BackStory’ programme. The company also donated funds to these projects and several million dollars worth of airtime to Plan International, Turner’s NGO partner, as well as funding the trips for the volunteers who helped build the schools. Over the last five years the company and its staff have also provided houses in South Africa with Habitat for Humanity and schooling, food, drugs and transport for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS inKenyawith UNICEF. Using their paid volunteer time staff have also created advertisements and logos for African charities and CNN has donated airtime.  With company support staff will be building another school in Africain 2012.


CNN International:                     

Claudia Coles: Claudia.Coles@turner.com  

+ 44 7785 725705

CNN International /London:       

Joel Brown: Joel.brown@turner.com                   

+ 44 20 7693 0967

+ 44 7967 293452

MultiChoiceSouth Africa: 

Marietjie Groenewald: Marietjie.groenewald@multichoice.co.za     

+ 27 11 289 3067

+ 27 79 501 1758


Caroline Creasy: Ccreasy@multichoice.co.za     

+ 27 11 289 3081

+ 27 82 333 4603


African Journalist Awards Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/CNNMultichoiceAfricanJournalistOfTheYearAwards

Twitter: @africanjourno

Issued: Saturday 25 June 2011

PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE VIA THIS FTP LINK : http://ns1.hosting2go.co.za/~jadephot/