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Burundian journalist receives the Peter Mackler Prize

Tuesday 23 August 2016, by SIGNIS

Bujumbura, August 23rd 2016 (Africanews). Eloge Willy Kaneza, the representative of a collective of burundian journalists, will receive the Peter Mackler award, which honors courage and ethics in journalism.

It is a very encouraging decision for the media professional of this African country, where the freedom of the press is threatened and where only a few journalists still want to work.

M. Kaneza works for the SOS Medias Burundi group, a collective created in 2015, after the shutting down of multiple radio stations.

“He and his colleagues have found creative ways to push back on repression using online technologies,” said PMA Project Director Camille Mackler. Indeed, without an office, they now have to use smartphones and apps to reach their audience. “Since we didn’t have any microphones nor studios, we could only use our smartphones to cover the #BurundiCrisis”, said the journalists ont their website.

According to the organizers of the Award, the group deserves the Prize because it “works in difficult circumstances as the only source of information on his country for Burundians and the outside world”. The Peter Mackler Award was created in memory of the former editor in chief of the AFP-North America, who died in 2008. It is done in collaboration with the Global Media Forum, Reporters Without Borders and the Agence France-Presse.

For Clea Kahn-Scriber, RSF representative in the Africa office : “the authorities and uncontrolled armed groups have become the first threat for Burundian journalists. Working in such condition with integrity and courage is really remarkable”, she added.

RSF notes that M. Kaneza “deserves this prize which is not only a tribute to his work, but also a message of hope sent to all the Burundian journalists”.

Other media, such as Voice of America, have showed their support to the group, acknowledging that M. Kaneza is “a journalist who isn’t afraid and an excellent reporter who strives to obtain the factual information of all the parties of the story”.

The Award ceremony will be held at the National Press Club in Washington DC on October 13th.

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