Josephine Achiro Fortelo from South Sudan will receive the Johann-Philipp-Palm-Award for Freedom of Speech and the Press 2018 in Schorndorf, Germany on December 2.
Achiro Fortelo is a radio journalist and the local coordinator of the Cross-Border Network (CBN), a DW Akademie project. She will visit Deutsche Welle’s headquarters in Bonn on December 5.
In her daily work for the CBN, the journalist is committed to independent reporting and freedom of expression. The association of 22 radio stations in the border region between Uganda and South Sudan was founded in June 2017 on the initiative of DW Akademie. The network aims to support the peace process by providing independent information.
The CBN brings together journalists from South Sudan and Uganda to share information across borders. Due to South Sudan’s civil war and the mass exodus of refugees, people on both sides of the border have a need for special information: they want to know about the situation back home and are looking for answers to practical, sometimes vital questions as well as an exchange with the local population in the host countries.
Intimidation and violent attacks
According to Reporters Without Borders, journalists in South Sudan are subject to intimidation and violent attacks. Many editorial offices have had to shut down. Achiro Fortelo has received repeated threats as a result of her work.
Based in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, Achiro Fortelo became known as a presenter for the radio station “Bakhita.” Her programs enable people of different ethnicities and convictions to have their say, with the aim of promoting critical exchange and providing information for minorities.
In its announcement of the award winners, the Palm Foundation stated that “Josephine Achiro Fortelo is an exceptional role model for the struggle for freedom of speech and press as an indispensable prerequisite for democracy.”
Along with the South Sudanese journalist, the Bosnian human rights activist, photographer and journalist Štefica Gali will also receive an award at the ceremony.