21 November 2000
Volume 09 - 2000 Issue 46 (21 Nov.)
Burkinabe journalist Souleymane Ouattara of the Syfia agency has won the 2000 Reuters-World Wildlife Union prize for environmental journalism in French-speaking Africa, reports the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) based on information from the PANA news agency. The prize recognises "excellence in professional reporting on the themes of sustainable environment and development." Ouattara, who won the award for his article "Our Friend the Fire" published in "Le Journal du Soir", dedicated the prize to the profession and his former colleague Norbert Zongo. Zongo was assassinated in Burkina Faso in December 1998. The report details "the unusual alliance or friendship between an old poacher and an official of the Water and Forest Board." Ouattara will receive a painting and free training sponsored by the Reuters Foundation.
Representatives of indigenous media, mainstream media, United Nations (UN) agencies and other relevant media organisations will be participating in a workshop on indigenous news media from 11 to 14 December in New York City, reports the International Journalists' Network (IJNet). Organised by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) and the UN Department of Public Information, this workshop is the second in a series that focuses on the relationship between indigenous media and the mainstream media. The first workshop, held in Madrid in January 1998, identified that indigenous issues are generally not covered well in the mainstream press, including print, radio, television and new media. Participants at the upcoming seminar will aim to establish a program of activities and cooperative projects that will include a training and education component for journalists. For more information, contact Esther van der Velde at the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Tel: (41-22) 917-9190. Fax: (41-22) 917-9010. E-mail:
On 15 November, radio correspondent Gustavo Rafael Ruiz Cantillo was shot by two men in Pivijay, northern Colombia, report the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and Reporters sans frontières (RSF). While police state that they are still investigating the identity of the attackers, the journalist's former colleagues at Radio Galeon allege that Ruiz was killed by members of a right-wing paramilitary group that operates in the region. The sources add that the group is "not linked to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a nationwide alliance of right-wing groups, but was rather a gang of hired gunmen financed by the rich people in the area." Ruiz, who received threats by the armed group twice, was warned by them to "stop reporting bad news about Pivijay and to give up that big mouth's job." IAPA states that while it is gravely concerned with the situation of violence in Colombia in general, its concern is even greater in the case of a murdered journalist because such an act silences the right and ability of citizens to be informed.
A number of journalists and an international human rights worker were assaulted and attacked while covering the Egyptian legislative elections, state the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), Reporters sans frontières (RSF) and Amnesty International (AI). According to RSF, since the beginning of the elections, seven journalists have been assaulted and several others have had equipment confiscated. Most recently, on 14 November, the last day of the month-long elections, two journalists were assaulted and hurt in a Cairo district where Islamist candidates were running. In both instances, police officers who were present failed to intervene, states RSF. Also on 14 November, EOHR reports that an Amnesty International delegate was attacked and injured by plainclothes police officers in front of a polling station. The delegate, who was researching the violence between police and citizens, had his equipment and camera film confiscated from him. At least two Egyptians were shot and killed on 14 November, the final day of voting, after security forces prevented voters from entering polling stations in El-Amer, north of Cairo, reports the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). BBC also notes that in several other constituencies "police fired tear gas to disperse angry crowds wanting to vote."