The Nation Media Group's International Desk editor, Pamella Sittoni, was on Wednesday honoured with the Women in News 2017 Editorial Leadership Award in Durban, South Africa.
The ceremony was held during the Women in News summit marked by clarion calls for gender equality in the newsrooms.
Ms Sittoni was named the 2017 laureate for sub-Saharan Africa in Paris last week alongside Egypt’s Ms Karima Kamal, a columnist and contributing editor for the Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Yom, for the Middle East and North Africa.
The summit was organised in conjunction with the 2017 World News Congress and World Editors Forum.
The award is part of World Association of Newspapers (WAN-IFRA’s) Gender and Media Freedom strategy, spearheaded through support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
While presenting the award on behalf of Sida, Swedish ambassador to South Africa, Cecilia Julin said it is important to have women playing a major role in defining what is reported and how it is reported.
“The Women in News Editorial Leadership Award recognises exceptional contribution by a female editor to her newsroom. The award seeks to recognise excellence, and serves as inspiration for the next generation of media leaders, many of whom often lack female role models in their own newsrooms or media environments,” she said.
Ms Sittoni described the award as humbling as she’s not only encouraged to keep up the work but also challenged to live up to the spirit of this award by supporting her colleagues on their way up.
“I urge media owners and managers to wake up to the fact that to exclude women from decision-making in media is to exclude a half of the potential ideas. It’s akin to setting off on a long trek with only one shoe,” she said.
Ms Sittoni is also the editor of Nation Media Group's The EastAfrican, the most authoritative regional newspaper. It circulates in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.
Ms Sittoni is Kenya’s most senior woman in the print media in a career spanning 15 years.
Fellow laureate Ms Kamal dedicated her award to the freedom of press and speech.
“My professional journey and my journey as an activist for rights and liberties have focused on two main axes: defending the freedom of press and the freedom of expression and defending women rights, especially the right to equality,” she said.
Ms Kamal has had an eminent media career spanning 45 years and is the author of several publications on personal status laws, women’s rights and the affairs of the Coptic community in Egypt.