FAIR Newsletter: 6 Aug 2013

Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR)

NEWSLETTER: 6 August 2013


SIDA Small Grants 2013

Some of the grantees have already submitted drafts which are in edit stage by FAIR Commissioning Editor Khadija Sharife and Francophone editor/mentor Gerard Guedegbe. Those who have published: Great radio play in Uganda by Sarah Mwarere (UBC) and Liberia by Evelyn Kpadeh (Liberia Women Democracy Radio). Excellent forthcoming pieces include Collins Mtika (Malawi illicit logging), Jessica Lomelin (backdoor abortion) and Franz Fuls (illicit water use by mining company).

Special thanks to Al Jazeera, The Africa Report, Daily Maverick, New African, etc for considering our content. An updated version of grantee stories published online can be found on the FAIR website here: http://wp.me/P1Htcn-12V. Some previously published online highlights (in no specific order) are listed below.

• Rape, Zimbabwe’s Silent Political Weapon (Kwenda, S.)

• Zimbabwe’s Avoidable Food Crisis (FAIR)

• Dead Aid in Mozambique (Valoi, E.)

• Down the Rabbit Hole: Rhino trafficking in southern Africa (Fiona M, Valoi E.)

• The Economy of Misery: Trafficked Children (Kigai, E.)

• Polling Hacks Fueling Violence in Kenya (Njagi, D.)

• Gay Somali Refugees Face Death Threats (Ali, N.)

• Myth of Health Care in Nigeria Delta State (Nwaebuni, R.)

• Zimbabwe: Bribes, Sex and Ballooning Electricity Debts (Mangirazi, N.)

• Life for Kigali Street Vendors After City Modernisation (Nzhohabominana, D.)

• Disease Preys on the Displaced in Uganda (Niinsima, R.)

Women and Violence in Africa: Transnational Investigation (Countries include Nigeria, Zimbabwe Ethiopia, Benin, Madagascar and Senegal)

We’re looking for story proposals to include a broader geography of violence (rather than usual NGO-shaped issues that have fueled an industry around women & culture). While this is important (and we are commissioning the same) the structural political and economic forms of injustice should be prioritized. Power (and violence against women) is perceived as seemingly masculine. However, while such systems allow some men to have the upper hand (army, governments etc), and socio-culture that can be patriarchal, most men are similarly dispossessed by the same rules.

For example, a political economy coerces women to become sex workers in mining towns; men are coerced to become miners. What differs is the degree and expanse of exploitation as greater and more conspicuous when it comes to women doubly disempowered. Our focus on Women and Violence therefore is to begin with the most marginalized, rather than probe woman-only issues. The difference in approach may seem slight, but it leads to different ways of thinking/pitching.

Read more here: http://fairreporters.net/2013/07/11/investigating-women-and-violence-in-africa/


1. Wanjohi Kabukuru of Kenya and Aaron Kessler were published online by 100 Reporters for a story titled “Shadow Diplomacy: African Nations Bypass Embassies, Tap Lobbyists”. The investigation looks at certain governments who seek improved trade relations, or how to get recognition by the American government. African leaders have turned to K Street lobbying shops for these and other services. And should they find themselves in a dicey situation tainted by accusations of corruption, help from American masters of public relations is only a phone call away. African nations both large and small are jumping into the game, and paying hefty sums to do it. Read the full story here: http://100r.org/2013/07/shadow-diplomacy-african-nations-bypass-embassies-tap-lobbyists/

2. Selay Marius Kouassi of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) has been selected as finalist in the African Story Challenge. The Story Challenge is a project by the African Media Initiative (AMI), the continent’s largest association of media owners and operators, in partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). More details here: http://africanstorychallenge.com/


1. The invisible plight of the Tanzanian press

CPJ special report by Tom Rhodes – The Tanzanian government enjoys good international publicity for transparency, but news of public discontent is not being heard. A spike in anti-press attacks is sowing fear and self-censorship among journalists. It took all of five minutes for two assailants to carry out the horrific attack on editor Absalom Kibanda, lopping off the top of his right ring finger, piercing his left eye, and prying out several teeth and fingernails. Police say their investigation is continuing, but journalist Deodatus Balile, who is leading an independent inquiry on behalf of local press associations, says officers are nowhere close to making any arrests. Read more: http://cpj.org/reports/2013/08/the-invisible-plight-of-the-tanzanian-press.php

2. Filmmaker’s arrest signals limits to Uganda coverage

Taylor Krauss, an American journalist, freelance filmmaker, and founder of the testimonial website Voices of Rwanda, traveled to Uganda roughly two weeks ago to conduct some filming in hopes of pitching footage later to various media outlets. Krauss is no stranger to the region; he has been traveling back and forth to the country for nine years. But now that he has been arrested, held for three days without charge, had his equipment confiscated, and finally forced out of the country, this probably marks his last visit. It probably also marks bad news for the press in Uganda. Read more: http://cpj.org/blog/2013/08/filmmakers-arrest-signals-limits-to-uganda-coverag.php

3. Jailed Burkinabe journalist appeals to African Court

Journalist Lohé Issa Konaté has been imprisoned in Burkina Faso since he was convicted in October of criminal defamation over articles in private weekly L’Ouragan alleging corruption and abuse of power at the office of the public prosecutor. In May, an appeals court rejected his appeal and upheld the 12-month sentence, according to defense counsel Halidou Ouedraogo. Now, after exhausting all domestic legal remedies, Konaté has filed a complaint with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Tanzania. Read more: http://cpj.org/blog/2013/07/jailed-burkinabe-journalist-appeals-to-african-cou.php#more

4. Zambian authorities block critical news site, arrest reporters

Actions taken by Zambian authorities against three journalists are the latest in a series of escalating tactics against the “Zambian Watchdog”. Clayson Hamasaka, Thomas Zyambo and Wilson Pondamali have been detained out of suspicion that they are affiliated with the website. The Zambian Watchdog is operated by Zambian journalists based abroad, with content from anonymous reporters inside the country. According to the International Press Institute (IPI), the site has a history of persecution that stretches back to at least 2011. Read more: http://ifex.org/zambia/2013/07/25/zambian_watchdog/


1. Fellowships to GIJC in Rio

Free Press Unlimited (FPU) is offering four individual journalists an Investigative Journalism Fellowship to participate in the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Rio de Janeiro in October. They are looking for written proposals for investigative journalism projects that are gripping and courageous, exude the inquisitive spirit of serious journalism, shed light on issues that are important yet underexposed and offer the public new perspectives. The fellowship will cover return airfare to Rio de Janeiro and hotel accommodation from 12 to 15 October 2013. This will allow the recipient to network and exchange ideas with the leading journalists in the field, get expert advice and learn from new best practices that are shared at the event. Submissions Deadline: 15 August. Submit your proposal (a maximum of five pages) in English, French or Spanish, to: kuiper@freepressunlimited.org

2. The African Story Challenge > Cycle 2: Diseases: Prevention and Treatment now open

The African Story Challenge is a new $1 million programme of reporting grants to encourage innovative, multi-media storytelling that aims to improve the health and prosperity of Africans. The project aims to hold leaders accountable, spur better policies, increase transparency, encourage public engagement and disseminate vital information that will lead to more vibrant communities. The Competition Has five Themes: Agriculture and Food security; Diseases: Prevention and Treatment; My Africa 2063; Maternal and Child Health; Business and Technology. Read more about the deadlines here: http://africanstorychallenge.com

3. International Peace Fellowship open

Journalists whose work addresses international peace and security challenges can apply for this fellowship. The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Jennings Randolph (JR) Senior Fellowship provides scholars, policy analysts, policy makers, journalists and other experts with opportunities to spend time at the Institute in D.C., reflecting and writing on proposed projects. Priority is given to proposals deemed likely to make timely and significant contributions to the understanding and resolution of ongoing and emerging conflicts and other challenges to international peace and security. Projects will also be chosen based on the quality of project design and its ability to be implemented, as well as the candidate’s project track record and potential as a fellow. The application deadline is Sept. 6. For more information, click here: http://www.usip.org/grants-fellowships/jennings-randolph-senior-fellowship-program/senior-fellowship-application-informa#Fellowship_Activities

4. Global Integrity: Call for Contributors in Africa

Global Integrity is embarking on a partnership with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to prepare the African Integrity Indicators (AII) 2013-2014. The project assesses key social, economic, political and anti-corruption mechanisms at the national level in all African countries. Through an expert assessment methodology, the project evaluates both legal frameworks and the practical implementation and enforcement of those frameworks across various categories, including safety and the rule of law, sustainable economic opportunity, and human development. This effort will require a global team of journalists, researchers and subject matter experts across Africa to conduct original research and gather data that will feed into the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Apply Online here: http://www.tfaforms.com/217820 or write to hazel.feigenblatt@globalintegrity.org.


1. A guide to media law for investigative journalism
2. The African Sentinel online magazine
3. Africa 911 crowd-sourcing project

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Forum for African Investigative Reporters