24.05.2021 news Honourable Mention for FIJ’s Soyombo in Karpoor Kulish International Journalism Award

Published 24th May, 2021

By Ibrahim Adeyemi

‘Fisayo Soyombo, Founder/Editor of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), has emerged a ‘Merit Award’ winner of the 2019 Karpoor Chandra Kulish International Award for Excellence in Journalism.

According to an announcement by the organisers over the weekend, Soyombo was listed among seven merit award recipients for his 2019 undercover investigation on Nigeria’s criminal justice system funded by TheCable and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), for which he got himself detained at a police cell for five days before spending another eight in prison after he had been arraigned in court.

Joining him on the list are Indian journalists Umesh Chandra Shukla, Ashok Kumar, Somesh Jha, Shashi Shekhar and K.S. Sudhi, as well as Emirati journalist Mazhar Farooqui.

The award was won by ‘China Cables’, a series of in-depth investigative reports by 75 journalists from 14 countries, including the US, Ireland, UK, Sweden, Spain, France, Israel and Australia, who worked undercover to expose China’s brutality against the Uyghur Muslim families.

The organisers also announced the winner of the 2018 edition of the award — Abhishek Gautam from Navbharat Times (Lucknow, India) — and 10 merit award winners.

Set up in 2007 in the memory of Karpoor Chandra Kulish, who founded Indian newspaper Rajasthan Patrika in 1956, the KC Kulish Award “recognizes the outstanding work of journalists” based on “teamwork, ground-level investigation and impact”.

2019 MERIT AWARDEES        

1.NameUmesh Chandra Shukla
 StoryJyoti Barber: A Girl Dressed As a Boy, Runs a Saloon For Men
 Newspaper/magazineDainik Jagran, Agra
2.Name                                     ‘Fisayo Soyombo
 Story                          Undercover Investigation on Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System
 Newspaper/magazineThe Cable, Lagos
3.NameAshok Kumar
 StoryFrom wells to ‘kundas’, a steep switch for Haryana villages
 Newspaper/magazineThe Hindu, Gurugram, Haryana
4.Name                                     Somesh Jha
 Story                          Politics of data in India
 Newspaper/magazineBusiness Standard, New Delhi
5.Name                                     Shashi Shekhar
 Story                          Gramino Ne Shramdaan Kar Banaya Paani Bank
 Newspaper/magazineDainik Jagran, Jamshedpur
6.Name                                     K.S. Sudhi
 Story                          A lake at the cross hairs of development & 25 other stories
 Newspaper/magazineThe Hindu, Kochi, Kerala
7.Name                                     Mazhar Farooqui
 Story                          Gulf News uncovers Global Job Racket
 Newspaper/magazineGulf News, Sharjah
 CountryUnited Arab Emirates

The latest international honour for Soyombo comes less than three weeks after he made the three-man shortlist for the 2021 edition of One World Media’s International Journalist of the Year award to be decided next month, alongside Drew Ambrose of Al Jazeera English and Suadad al-Salhy of Middle East Eye, from an initial 10-man longlist announced in April.

It was the second time in a row that Soyombo had made the OWM shortlist, having been long-listed for the award in 2020 before going on to earn a place on the three-man shortlist. The 2020 award eventually went to BBC’s John Sudworth.

His place on the 2021 shortlist was for ‘Portraits of Blood’, his three-part series on the massacre of #EndSARS protesters by Nigerian soldiers on October 20, 2020.

READ ALSO: PORTRAITS OF BLOOD (1): Death Threats, ‘Murders’, Indiscriminate Arrests… The Post-Lekki-Massacre Cover-Up

Three months earlier, he had won the second prize in the Outstanding Investigation category of the Fetisov Journalism Award, described by organisers as “the most lucrative journalism award in history”.

READ ALSO: PORTRAITS OF BLOOD (II): Names, Photos, Videos… How Lekki #EndSARS Protesters Were Massacred

In December 2020, Soyombo had also won the Local Reporter category of the 2020 Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism.

Before that feat, it was the third time in six years, the others being 2014 and 2016, that he had been short-listed for the Kurt Schork awards, which recognise excellence in courageous reporting of conflict, corruption, human rights transgressions and other related issues.

In 2020 alone, Soyombo either won or was short-listed for the Fetisov Journalism Awards (Outstanding Investigation category), the West Africa Media Excellence Award (Investigative Reporting category), the WJP Anthony Lewis Prize for Exceptional Rule of Law Journalism, the One World Media Awards (International Journalist of the Year category) and the People Journalism Prize for Africa (PJPA).

READ ALSO: PORTRAITS OF BLOOD (III): Survivors of Lekki Massacre Whose Lives Will Never Be The Same Again

A three-time winner of the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting, Soyombo is a former Editor of TheCable, the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) and SaharaReporters.

He founded FIJ in late 2020 as an independent, not-for-profit organisation that combats injustice, holds power to account and speaks for the voiceless, seeking to uncover the truth by bypassing officialdom and neutralizing propaganda. The outfit started publishing on January 20, 2021.

Published 24th May, 2021

By Ibrahim Adeyemi


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