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Award-winning reporter Salih: ‘Sudanese journalism has courage and ethics’

Hassan Faroog
Faisal Mohamed Salih recently won the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism. In an interview, Salih outlined the challenges facing journalists in Sudan, arguing that the award gives a moral…
18.09.2013  |  Khartoum
فيصل محمد صالح خلال ندوة صحفية في الخرطوم، 10 سبتمبر 2012.
فيصل محمد صالح خلال ندوة صحفية في الخرطوم، 10 سبتمبر 2012.

Some believe that Sudanese Journalism lacks courage and ethics. What do you say?

I do not agree with this description. Those who grant this award believe Sudanese journalism has courage and ethics. They award these honours not only to individuals but also to Sudanese journalism and the Sudanese journalists who work under such difficult conditions. Despite these pressures they perform their professional and national role and maintain professional values for genuine journalism, including courage and ethics.

So their courage and ethics remain intact despite these adverse circumstances?

They (these qualities) certainly appear during the times of suppression, crackdown and absence of freedoms.

Will the award make journalists’ steadfast in the face of such challenges?

It absolutely has a great moral value and a significant impact. It sends a message to the world about the situation facing Sudanese journalists and recognises their struggle. That is the most important aspect of this award. It pushes for more brave work and prompts journalists to continue their mission and commit to their professional values.

Do you believe a large number of Sudanese journalists have these strengths?

A large number of journalists deserve this award. The fact that one journalist wins it, means tens of journalists enjoy it in the spirit of teamwork.

How influential is this award?

It might not influence authorities, but it surely imparts a moral influence and will exert pressure on the authorities that suppress, persecute and crackdown on journalists.

If the government wanted to honour you for getting this award, how would you react?

The state is doubtful about such awards. However, if a governmental body wanted to honour me, I would reply that it could best honour journalists by ensuring an appropriate political, security and economic atmosphere, thus allowing journalists to work professionally with respect -- but without censorship.

Tell us about the award.

The Peter Mackler Award is granted by an American institution that was founded in recognition of the late American journalist Peter Mackler, who died in 2008. His family founded the award in 2009 and formed a committee to determine the specifications of the award. The committee incorporates an organisation called Global Media Forum, the US branch of Reporters Without Borders, and other media figures from major US media institutions.

They take nominations from several institutions and agencies and then they consider the nominees before choosing the winner. Before the official announcement, they sent me a letter about the award. They also wrote to the four other award winning journalists who come from Kazakhstan, Honduras, Russia and Sri Lanka.