International Editor of the Year Award

1999-2000 Recipients

In the year 2000, World Press Review honored as "International Editors of the Year" three outstanding journalists from Sierra Leone: Paul Kamara, editor of For di People, Philip Neville, editor of Standard Times, and David Tam-Baryoh, editor of Punch.

The award is given annually to an editor or editors outside the United States in recognition of enterprise, courage, and leadership in advancing the freedom and responsibility of the press, enhancing human rights, and fostering excellence in journalism.

Paul Kamara

Paul Kamara

Paul Kamara, editor of For Di People.

Kamara, who founded the newspaper For Di People in 1983, has spent his journalistic career as a fearless chronicler of his country's agony. During the past two decades, his hallmarks have been his incisive reporting and commentary and his exposés of government corruption.

Kamara, 48, who also serves as chairman of Sierra Leone's National League for Human Rights, has been jailed, threatened, and shot at point-blank range for his staunch defense of independent journalism and advocacy of democracy. In 1996, he was ambushed and gunned down by the junta for his role in supporting democratic elections. After spending time in England for treatment of his shattered leg, Kamara returned to Freetown in May 1997, two weeks before the democratically elected government of Ahmed Tejan Kabbah was overthrown in a military coup. After the coup, he was forced to publish in hiding as AFRC soldiers combed the city to arrest him. His offices were bombed and rebels occupied his home when he went underground. He remained in hiding in Freetown, eventually suspending publication of For Di People until the ouster of the AFRC regime by the West African Peacekeeping Force (ECOMOG) in February 1998.

Philip Neville

Philip Neville

Philip Neville, editor of Standard Times.

Philip Neville, 38, has been a journalist for a decade—a period during which Sierra Leone has suffered a succession of military dictatorships and been racked by civil war. Since he founded Standard Times in 1994, Neville has endured government reprisals for his paper's independence and hard-hitting reporting. He has been arrested and detained numerous times between 1994 and 1996. After the overthrow of the elected government of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in May 1997, the AFRC military regime targeted the journalists of Standard Times. Neville and his staff went underground, but continued to publish the newspaper. He was attacked, and eventually fled into exile in the United States.

Neville returned to Sierra Leone after the restoration of the Kabbah government in 1998. But after the rebels invaded Freetown in the first days of 1999, they targeted Neville's newspaper for reprisal. On January 9, 1999, rebels burned the offices of Standard Times and murdered Paul Mansaray, Standard Times's news editor, as well as Mansaray's wife, his children, and his nephew. Neville again went into exile in the United States and returned to Sierra Leone in July 1999.

David Tam-Baryoh

David Tam-Baryoh

David Tam-Baryoh, editor of Punch.

David Tam-Baryoh, former director of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, launched the Freetown based Punch in April 1996 after working at three local newspapers. In the four years since the newspaper's founding, he has been arrested or detained five times, been hunted by rebels of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, and driven into hiding.

In 1997, as the AFRC systematically hunted down journalists targeted for death for their coverage of the war, he repeatedly risked his life to demand a response about the whereabouts of colleagues who had vanished, before he was forced to flee into exile.

While in exile in Accra, Ghana, Tam-Baryoh worked as research and publications officer of the Media Foundation for West Africa, and served as the managing editor of the foundation's magazine, Zongo-Giwa. He also reported from Ghana for World Press Review.

Since returning to Sierra Leone, Tam-Baryoh has been appointed director of the Center for Media Education and Technology in Freetown.

 

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