Charles Kwizera, a Journalist working for online media house www.kigalitoday.com became the first Rwandan scribe to win an award in the 2nd annual EAC/EABC media awards that were held in Kigali this year.
Kwizera was recognised as the 2012 Best Higher Education Reporter in East Africa in the awarding ceremony which was hosted at Kigali Serena Hotel on Thursday night, attended by EAC Secretary General, Richard Sezibera, and the Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, who was the Guest of Honour.
The education reporter won the award in the category of Higher Education reporting in the EAC beating Wickliffe Odera, a Kenyan broadcaster.
"It is elevating and energizing to know that the work you do is appreciated. I am honoured to be recognized as a contributor to the EAC integration especially in the area of education," said Kwizera.
The award winning story was an insightful piece titled "EA varsities to harmonise academic calendar." The writer did the story while with The New Times, a Rwandan news paper based in Kigali city; before he changed he joined www.kigalitoday.com
Other awards which were also won by other journalists are in the categories of business and finance, agriculture and food security, health, environment, broadcast, and political federation.
Speaking at the ceremony, the chairman of the Panel of Judges, Arthur Asiimwe, who is also the board chairman of the Media High Council, said the 12 finalists had quality stories, adding that media reporting on EAC integration was improving.
He cited that the print section was better in EAC integration.
"We had some excellent pieces, especially within the print section that were original and quite resourceful in pushing ahead the integration agenda".
The competition that is jointly organised by the East African Community (EAC) and the East African Business Council (EABC) received more than 120 entries from all five EAC partner states with submissions in English, Kiswahili, French, Kirundi and Kinyarwanda this year.
The annual EAC Media Awards is the premier regional competition for journalists, editors and commentators covering the East African Community (EAC) integration. It is jointly organised by the EAC and the East African Business Council (EABC).
Kwizera receiving a certificate of recognition from the Inter University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) official
The awards aim at reinforcing the critical role of the media in driving the integration agenda and seek to recognise, reward and encourage journalistic talent across media platforms in the various aspects of regional cooperation.
In his speech at the ceremony, Prime Minister Habumuryemyi said that journalism is an important pillar through which government and the private sector can communicate their projects and goals.
"Awarding best journalists in the region will spur the need to write more about the agenda of East Africa and all the five partner states must offer strong support and avail information necessary for journalists to disseminate," he said.
Gahiji Innocent is the chief political columnist for Newsofrwanda.He grew up in Kampala,Uganda before moving to Rwanda.His column is syndicated to newspapers around the country. He has written columns from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel and South Africa. Gahiji , who has a B.A. degree in English from the University of Illinois, has been a Poynter Media Fellow at Yale University,