Africa Retains Gold Medal at World Journalism Awards

Ken Opala from Kenya, an investigative journalist who reported on the inhumane and "horrid lives" of death row convicts, has scooped the gold medal in the 2003 Natali Prize - one of the world's leading awards for journalists. Ken Opala is also the winner of the regional prize for Africa.

He and other top-class journalists from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America were honoured by the International Federation of Journalists and the European Commission at a special prizegiving ceremony held at the International Press Centre Résidence Palace, in Brussels on 24 October 2003.

Each winner of the Natali Prize, which is presented to the cream of reporting human rights, democracy and development receives 10,000 Euro and a trophy. “Each of the winners have contributed something special to the journalistic community through their work, very often under extremely dangerous conditions”, said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.

The Natali Prize, which is awarded to print and/or on-line journalists who have demonstrated a striking insight and particular dedication to the reporting of human rights issues within the context of development, was established in 1992 to promote quality journalism and to commemorate the dedication of former Vice-President of the European Commission, Lorenzo Natali. Since 1999 the prize has been administered by the IFJ, the world's largest organisation of journalists, which represents 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries.

The Prizes were presented by Neil Kinnock, Vice-President of the European Commission. “This prize recognizes and rewards excellence in reporting human rights, democracy and development demonstrating the quality of journalists and the significance of what they write,” said Kinnock.

The 2003 Natali Gold Medal Winner:

Ken OPALA (Kenya) for a series of articles on death penalty all published in Daily Nation

In the regional category of Africa the 2003 Natali Prize goes to:

Ken OPALA (Kenya)


Jessica BEZUIDENHOUT & Mzilikazi WA AFRIKA (South Africa) for their investigation into South Africa's first forestry privatisation deals published in The Sunday Times

Dorothy OTIENO (Kenya) for a series of articles on female genital mutilation all published in East African Standard

In the regional category of The Arab World, Iran and Israel the 2003 Natali Prize goes to:

Walid BATRAWI (Palestine) for his article "Media-less Reforms vs. Reform-less Media" published on-line at Arab Media Internet Network and in Al-Ayyam Daily


Jennifer PETERSON (Palestine) for her article "Strangling Qalqilya" published in Palestine Report

Atef SAAD (Palestine) for his article "Teachers Rescue Classes, Despite Checkpoints" published in Palestine Report

In the regional category of Asia and the Pacific the 2003 Natali Prize goes to:

Massoud ANSARI (Pakistan) for his article "The Great Repatriation Scam" published in Newsline


Sergei DUVANOV (Kazakhstan) for his articles "I Do Not Believe", "Silence of the Lambs" and "Billion - The Account, But Not That" published in SolDat and on-line at Eurasia and KUB

Muzamil JALEEL (India) for his series on the human costs of the Kashmir conflict published in The Indian Express, The Observer, The Telegraph and The Guardian

In the regional category of Europe the 2003 Natali Prize goes to:

Sofia BRANCO (Portugal) for her investigation on the possible practice of female genital mutilation within the Guinea community in Portugal published in Público


Rolf BAUERDICK (Germany) for his report "Von wie wenig kann man leben? - Müllmenschen in Oradea/Rumänien" published in Brigitte-Magazin

Sandra CAMPS OCAÑA (Spain) for her report "Retrato de las ONG" published in El País Semanal

In the regional category of Latin America and the Caribbean the 2003 Natali Prize goes to:

José F. HOYOS ESTRADA (Colombia) for his report "¿Qué puedo hacer por Colombia?" published in Semana


Daniela ARBEX (Brazil) for her series "Cova 312" on the discovery of the grave of Milton Soares de Castro - a militant politician who disappeared 35 years ago under the Brazilian dictatorship - published in Tribuna de Minas

Klester CAVALCANTI (Brazil) for his article "Viúvas da terra" published in Revista Terra

Download the Jury Report

Further information: + 32 2 235 22 00

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries