IWMF Names Ugandan Journalist 2011-2012 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow
The International Women’s Media Foundation has selected Jackee Budesta Batanda–a Ugandan journalist who has reported on the vicious acid attacks of women as “revenge crimes” and the targeted murders of albinos–as the 2011-2012 Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow.
Amid a brutal crackdown on journalists covering anti-government protests, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has denounced local and international media outlets as “enemies.” In this atmosphere, Batanda became determined to report and research “closing media spaces in African nations” during the fellowship when she studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies and other Boston-area universities. She will also have access to The New York Times and the The Boston Globe.
“Press freedom in Uganda is under attack. Jackee wants to shine a spotlight on how the government is treating journalists,” IWMF Executive Director Liza Gross said. “In the true spirit of Elizabeth Neuffer, Batanda’s interest in covering crucial humanitarian issues in Africa offers inspiration for journalists everywhere. We hope this valuable opportunity will provide her with time to expand her reporting.”
The fellowship was created in memory of Boston Globe correspondent Elizabeth Neuffer, an IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner who was killed in Iraq in May 2003. The program, funded by Neuffer’s family and supporters, aims to promote international understanding of human rights and social justice and create an opportunity for women journalists to build their skills.
Batanda, 31, a reporter for the Global Press Institute, plans to create a reporting skills workshop for Ugandan journalists after her seven-month fellowship. A gifted writer and photographer, Batanda holds a master’s degree in forced migration studies from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and an undergraduate degree in communications from Makerere University in Uganda. Batanda, a communications officer for the Refugee Law Project of Makerere University’s law faculty, received Uganda’s 2010 Young Achievers Award and a Justice in Africa program fellowship.
Batanda “will bring drive and passion to this program,” said Cristi Hegranes, founder and executive director of the Global Press Institute. “With her desire to create change and her dedication to human dignity, along with extensive writing and social justice background, I cannot imagine a person better qualified.”