Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) reporter, Rozalee Nongebatu was named the winner of the 2011 RAMSI Special Coordinator’s Media Encouragement Award.
The RAMSI Media Encouragement Award was established in 2009 to recognise the key role the media plays in the development of Solomon Islands.
Ms Nongebatu has worked as a reporter for SIBC since 2000, and has made great strides in her professionalism in recent times.
In presenting the award at the annual RAMSI Media Lunch, RAMSI Special Coordinator Nicholas Coppel said that over the course of her career, Rozalee had shown perseverance, tenacity and commitment to improving her craft.
“In 11 years, Rozalee has risen from a being a junior cadet to become one of the country’s strongest young journalists,” he said. “Rozalee is now chasing stories, putting leaders on the spot, and she has become a champion for environmental issues, such as climate change.”
Mr Coppel said the 2010 election saw Ms Nongebatu step up and become one of the nation’s most impressive young voices.
“Working as SIBC’s correspondent in Choiseul on election day, Rozalee provided one of the key voices reporting from the provinces. And to hear a young woman putting the tough questions to some of Solomon Islands most senior leaders is a testament to the growing strength and confidence of the media in Solomon Islands.”
In accepting the award, Ms Nongebatu said she was humbled and honoured to have received the award.
“The award would not have been possible without the support of my workmates and colleagues from SIBC’s newsroom.”
The RAMSI Media Encouragement Award recognises an individual or a media organisation that has demonstrated consistent effort, imagination and commitment to improving and excelling professionally. In 2009, the Award was presented to the Solomon Star’s Charles Kadamana for his work as the paper’s lead photographer and in 2010 the award went to the team from OneTelevision’s Footprints, the country’s first television current affairs program.
As part of today’s RAMSI Media Lunch, held to mark this week’s World Press Freedom Day, a new cartoon/comic series was also shown for the first time. The cartoon series, aimed at encouraging everyone to play their role in fighting corruption, has been developed by RAMSI in consultation with the country’s anti-corruption agencies and NGOs. It will be screened on Solomon Islands’ OneTelevision network in the coming months.
Mr Coppel said Solomon Islands media had the opportunity to drive the country’s fight against corruption and malpractice, which had, for many years, done enormous damage to Solomon Islands.
“We see daily reports on crimes such as thefts, assaults and alcohol or drug possession,” Mr Coppel said. “So why do we not see the same level of coverage of corruption and malpractice? After all, corruption’s reach is far greater and its impact often far more long-lasting.
“You can help expose those who are driving these practices, and you can help Solomon Islanders see that just because something has happened for years, that does not make it legitimate or acceptable.”
Since 2006, RAMSI has supported the strengthening to the Solomon Islands media through the Solomon Islands Media Assistance Scheme.