Winning articles of the 2003 Natali Prize

Winner of The 2003 Natali Prize for Africa and Gold Medallist:

Ken OPALA (Daily Nation, Kenya)

The Jury said:

Opala’s piece is not so much about the horrors of capital punishment per se -- the fact is that no-one has actually been executed in Kenya since 1987. But the death sentence is still one option available to the judicial authorities. As he reports in “Death row convicts’ horrid lives” there has been a de facto moratorium on its use over the last 15 years or so. But what has taken its place is almost as inhuman. Thanks to the fact that the death sentence is available even for cases of armed robbery with violence, almost 2,000 people are on Kenya’s death row, of which 1,777 are waiting for their appeals to be heard. Because judges know that convicts will not end up being killed there has been an almost casual approach to using the death sentence and that has led to a situation where “many convicts are languishing in prisons unsure of their fate”. It is the uncertainty, Opala says, more than anything else which dehumanises the prisoners and which amounts to a kind of mental torture. The inmates live in horrendously overcrowded conditions and have to put up with hopelessly poor medical treatment. Despite his valiant journalistic efforts, however, a majority of Kenya’s parliamentarians remain opposed to any reform of the death penalty.

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The winner of The 2003 Natali Prize for the Arab World, Iran and Israel:

Walid BATRAWI (Arab Media Internet Network and Al-Ayyam Daily, Palestine)

The Jury said:

Violations of freedom of press, media censorship and harassment of journalists are rampant in the Arab world and the Middle East at large. Lack of press freedom and democracy is responsible for the deterioration of the political and economic life in many countries of this region. Batrawi's courageous article "Media-less reforms vs. Reform-less Media", which exposes problems faced by the Palestinian media, is in fact a sad reflection of the current state of media and the press in the wider region. Batrawi’s thought-provoking article recommend ways to rebuild, reform and restructure the Palestinian media, which - if implemented - could lead to profound and positive changes towards real freedom of the press. An independent and free Palestinian press would be a big asset in contributing towards the Middle East Peace Process.

Download Walid Batrawi's article here

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The winner of The 2003 Natali Prize for Asia and the Pacific:

Massoud ANSARI (Newsline, Pakistan)

The Jury said:

In his article "The Great Repatriation Scam" Ansari Massoud paints a depressing picture of far-reaching corruption inside the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Following up on complaints of sexual harassment and corruption in a repatriation scheme run by the UN agency, Massoud himself discovered by dint of his own investigations that the corruption went to the core of the UN operation set up officially to encourage Afghan citizens to return home from Pakistan. It is not an exaggeration to say that the impact of the article proved devastating. His findings were officially confirmed by the UNHCR itself following an internal investigation and forced the resignation of the key officials involved.

Download Massoud Ansari's articlehere

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The winner of The 2003 Natali Prize for Europe:

Sofia BRANCO (Público, Portugal)

The Jury said:

"O holocausto silencioso das mulheres a quem continuam a extrair o clítoris" is an original piece of journalism in the way it spotlights this horrendous practice which goes back to ancient times but which is still alive and well in Portugal at the start of the 21st century. Here, the originality and subject of the story are complemented by rigorous investigative work, which together result in an approach that only the talent of the writer and a solid conception of investigative journalism keep from veering into prejudice and a judgemental attitude. The journalist’s impartiality is revealed in all its fullness in that although European, she is able to distance herself from her background enough to present the side of those who defend the practice as a projection of their reality and cultural experience. For the universality of her piece, for managing to bring together the best aspects of journalism, our congratulations to Sofia Branco.

Download Sofia Branco's article in Portuguese here

Download Sofia Branco's article in English here

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The winner of The 2003 Natali Prize for Latin America and the Caribbean:

José Fernando HOYOS ESTRADA (Semana, Colombia)

The Jury said:

This series of articles examine the social work organised by Colombian companies and individuals to help the disadvantaged, the persecuted and displaced. The weekly magazine “Semana” has contributed fully to what it calls this “enterprise philanthropy” movement and plays a full part as a vehicle of communication in the hunt for non-statist solutions to the crisis afflicting Colombian society. As the articles put it there is in Colombia a new kind of philanthropy at work which is helping to finance social programs in the country. But it is not just a question of donating money, senior executives, other professionals and even housewives are voluntarily donating their time to help educate children from marginal backgrounds or to run communal dining rooms.

Download José Fernando Hoyos Estrada's articles in Spanish here

Download José Fernando Hoyos Estrada's articles in English here

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