A new $1000 USD annual African journalism award, named after the late Cameroonian journalist Bibi Ngota, has been launched. Read the award’s rationale along with submission guidelines and deadlines below.
Cameroonian Journalists Protesting the death of Bibi Ngota (c) AFP)
The Problem of Political Impunity in Africa
‘A deep, very serious problem is undermining Africa: political impunity’, writes Philippe Orou Sica. As a result, ‘Political life is sometimes asphyxiated and criminalized. As soon as a Head of State accedes to power, he feels that he is above all law. His political and ethnic groups are protected as a result. On the one hand, issues are suppressed, and on the other, one can kill, assassinate political opponents in total impunity, and wage war against the whole or a part of the population with a cynicism and peace of mind that is most peculiar. Nothing seems to dissuade this murderous form of ‘politics’.’
Why a Bibi Ngota Award for Journalism against Impunity in Africa?
The name of Cameroonian journalist Ngota Ngota Germain Cyrille, also known as Bibi Ngota, is connected to the issue of impunity mainly because of the conditions of his death. The founding editor of Cameroon Express, he was arrested together with other journalists, and accused of having published documents compromising Laurent Esso, a high ranking political official, who is still in the Cameroonian government today. Jailed in the Kondengui maximum security prison, Bibi Ngota’s health deteriorated rapidly, and was admitted to the prison dispensary where he died. His death certificate mentions ‘abandonment’, ‘improper care’, as well as ‘failure to render assistance’, as the causes of his death. His death unified journalists around his plight in an unprecedented gesture of professional solidarity that this award intends to perpetuate.
What is the Bibi Bibi Ngota Award?
- A Bibi Ngota Award for Journalism against Impunity in Africa is, therefore, created in memory of the Cameroonian journalist who died in prison on April 22, 2010, and was jailed because of his journalistic work.
- The award celebrates a work of investigative journalism or analysis published in any format, which covers topics related to impunity in its economic, judicial, political, social aspects, and to human rights on the African continent. The articles submitted must have been published the year before the attribution of the prize (for instance, between January and December 2011 for the 2012 award).
- The award celebrates African journalists based in Africa or in the Diaspora, but also non-African journalists working for the international media who write about Africa.
- The award’s amount is $1000 USD.
- A Special Mention/Special Jury Award highlights the work of a Cameroonian journalist who is not the recipient of the Bibi Ngota Award, but who has carried out significant investigative work on impunity. That Special Jury Award/Special Mention is of a non-monetary nature, and the selected article will be published in the online journal ‘dix grammes d’info, dix minutes de lecture’.
- Several submissions may be made by the same person.
- Submissions may be made by the journalists themselves, their colleagues, or the board of their media.
- For the moment, only submissions in English and French will be accepted.
- The winner will be announced each year on April 22, the anniversary of Bibi Ngota’s death.
- The members of the jury are six (6) in number, and will be designated each year. The list of jury members will be published only if necessary.
- The awardee shall be selected by a majority of votes of the members of the jury. In the event that the votes are equally divided, the president of the jury shall cast a double vote to determine the winner.
- Articles should be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Last day of submission is March 22, 2012.
For more on Bibi Ngota, see: CJFE remembers Bibi Ngota