6 December 2018

South Sudan: 'Peace Is the Only Option' - South Sudanese Journalist Awarded Press Freedom Prize

Photo: aljazeera
South Sudan gained its independence five years ago with much fanfare.

The South Sudanese journalist Josephine Achiro Fortelo has long fought for press freedom in her homeland. Her work has now been recognized with the Johann Philipp Palm Award for Freedom of Speech and the Press.

Intimidation and violent attacks on journalists are no rarity in South Sudan. But there are still brave men and women who, despite threats, defend the freedom of opinion and of the press.

One of these is Josephine Achiro Fortelo. She is a radio journalist and project coordinator or the Cross Border Networks (CBN), a radio project of DW Academy. She mediates between 22 radio stations in Uganda and South Sudan, and supports the peace process through supplying independent information.

On December 2, Achiro Fortelo received the Johann Phillip Palm Award for her outstanding commitment to freedom of opinion and freedom of the press.

Previous prize-winners include Seyran Ates, the German Turkish women's rights activist who founded the first liberal mosque in Berlin; Alaa Al-Aswani, the Egyptian writer who touched on many taboos in Egyptian society with her novel The Yacubian Building; and Christian Führer, the former pastor of St Nicholas Church, Leipzig, where protests erupted in the 1980s against the East German regime.

Deutsche Welle: You were just awarded the Palm Freedom of Opinion prize. How significant is the prize in terms of your work?

Josephine Achiro Fortelo: The prize means a lot to me and the media in South Sudan. It's a reminder of the responsibility we have as journalists, because the prize came as a result of what we are doing as journalists in South Sudan. It will remind me of the duties I have as a journalist to serve my people and provide them with the information they need that will save lives in South Sudan.

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