Kaneza, 34, is the public face of SOS Media Burundi, a collective of mostly anonymous journalists that emerged after the closure of radio stations during the May 2015 coup attempt against President Pierre Nkurunziza. Using smartphones and mobile applications, Kaneza and his colleagues work under difficult circumstances as the only source of news for their countrymen and those outside Burundi.
“Not only does Eloge Kaneza embody the journalistic values the Peter Mackler Award seeks to honor, he and his colleagues have also found creative ways to push back on repression using online technologies,” said PMA Project Director Camille Mackler. “He is a role model.”
Here’s what other journalists are saying about Eloge Willy Kaneza:
“Not only is Eloge not afraid, but he is also an excellent reporter who strives to get both sides of the story; his survival in this very troubled country could be due to his fairness.” - Nengussie Mengesa Director, African Division, Voice of America.
Esdras Ndikumana, correspondent for Agence France-Presse and Radio France Internationale, who was forced into exile after being attacked by intelligence agents, said recently that without SOS Media Burundi, he wouldn’t be able to provide his readers and listeners with any information from the country.
Eloge studied audiovisual communications in Bujumbura's Université Lumière. He also attended a Reporters Without Borders workshop on cyber security in Bujumbura, along with other SOS Media Burundi reporters, to learn how to protect communications online.
He speaks English, French and Swahili.
The Award ceremony will take place on October 13, 2016 at 6PM at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, 529 14th St. N.W, 13th Fl.; Washington, DC 20045. The ceremony will be followed by a networking hour.