Celeste Hicks on African reporting

Celeste Hicks is a freelance journalist who's been reporting on African issues for seven years. Having worked for the BBC in Somalia, Chad and Mali, she has a particular interest in the Sahel. She works regularly with young up-and-coming African journalists.

February 2, 2012

Getting Somalia Wrong

          http://www.royalafricansociety.org/events/details/1137-getting-somalia-wrong-faith-war-and-hope-in-a-shattered-state.html Next week I’m planning to attend this event at the Royal African Society, where BBC journalist Mary Harper will be launching her new book ‘Getting Somalia Wrong’. Mary has a long history of association with Somalia, she’s travelled there many times. One of her best stories came about when she […]

January 17, 2012

Ethiopia journalism training

  I’ve just returned from a great trip to Addis Ababa where I was working for BBC Media Action (formerly BBC World Service Trust) to support a team of six journalists from BBC and the national broadcaster Ethiopian Radio and TV Agency (ERTA) to make a 45 minute discussion programme. The theme of the discussion […]

January 5, 2012

Nominations open for One World Media awards

I recently spent a very enjoyable night in the pub with some friends who work in international media, one of them works for One World Media http://oneworldmedia.org.uk/ A really interesting organisation (which I was a bit embarrassed to admit I didn’t know much about) which offers scholarships to UK students wanting to report on the […]

December 7, 2011

Sahara reporters

 I’m really impressed by this journalist website ‘Sahara Reporters’ – http://saharareporters.com  – having heard their founder Omoyele Sowore speaking recently on UK media. They’re a Nigerian news website based in the US who focus on citizen journalism and getting ordinary people to write and create reports about issues such as corruption and bad political management. […]

November 29, 2011

hopes and fears for Durban

It’s been hard journalistically to generate much excitement about the climate change talks currently taking place in Durban, South Africa. Even the name is a complete put-off – COP17 – I suppose it was meant to be catchy… but the acronym stands for the achingly dull ‘Conference of Parties 17’. Yes, that’s the seventeenth time world leaders have […]

November 10, 2011

lessons from Tunisia?

It’s generally agreed that the Tunisian elections went well – the results have been accepted, as has the moderate Islamist party En-nahda’s new power on the political scene. The process has been praised both within the country, and by international democracy monitoring bodies. I’m currently writing an article for BBC Focus on Africa magazine about what […]

November 2, 2011

Tunisian journalism

I recently returned from a great trip to Tunisia to report on the country’s first democratic election. I had many fascinating discussions there with journalists about the challenges of working in a new system. Over super-powered coffee in the hundreds of smart cafes on the central Avenue Habib Bourguiba, I met journalists from independent agencies, Radio 6 Tunis, La Presse and […]

October 14, 2011

RSF sets up in Tunisia

I’m currently in Tunis, reporting on the upcoming elections for an assembly which will be charged with writing a new constitution following January’s Jasmine Revolution http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15137787 I’m pleased to see that Reporters Sans Frontieres have been able to open a permanent office in Tunis to support journalists during the transition to democracy. For years Tunisia was […]

October 5, 2011

Mogadishu Bomb

Yet again brutal and senseless carnage has been wreaked on innocent Somali people, already facing the arduous task of staying alive in what surely must be the worst country on earth. At least seventy people were killed when a car bomb exploded in Mogadishu – suspected to have been planted by the Islamist militant group […]

September 27, 2011

Euro crisis and Africa

I’ve just had a fascinating discussion with the chief economist of the African Development Bank about the impact the eurozone crisis may have on Africa.  It’s a very popular question right now, and Mthuli Ncube is hoping that his optimism is well-placed. In brief, according to Ncube, Africa should be ok as long as economic […]

September 15, 2011

last thought on Niger and Gadaffi

Little did I know Niger was going to be thrown into the headlines as much as it was last week when a lone French military source quoted by Reuters suggested that Colonel Gadaffi may be planning his escape route across the vast, unpoliced desert border between Libya, Niger and Algeria. I’d deliberately chosen Niger for […]

September 6, 2011

Just returned from meeting journalists in Niger

The future seems bright for the Nigerien media. Local media are flourishing – there are around 230 radio stations (many of them community radio stations funded by donor money), four TV channels and about 100 newspapers. The advent of democracy (Mahamadou Issoufou was elected in a peaceful poll in February this year), has enshrined gains […]

August 15, 2011

Meeting Moussa Kaka

The headquarters of Moussa Kaka’s relatively new enterprise Saraounia Radio (it means ‘the Queen’ in Hausa) is an unassuming tiled building in downtown Niamey, capital of Niger. Inside the radio station too, it’s modest. They have a few computers with digital editing software and an air-conditioned studio; antennae and a multitude of satellite links connecting […]

August 5, 2011

visa politics

I cried, I swore, I banged my head off the kitchen working top and then lay awake all night worrying, but finally I did get my visa for Niger. It was a wonderful meeting of bureaucracy, ‘Escroquerie’ as they say, and British officiousness. I should have paid attention to the warning bells when I found […]

July 31, 2011

The effect social media is having on African newsgathering

Following on from my last blog post about how hand-held video cameras are transforming the way reporters in Africa are doing their jobs, I thought it’s also worth looking at the effect social media is having on African newsgathering. The picture is completely mixed across the continent. There are some countries, such as Nigeria, Kenya […]

July 23, 2011

Video-making made simpler!

Two years ago I made my first film (about a massacre in the Central African Republic) using a small Canon digital video camera and editing software borrowed from a friend. I didn’t have a tripod, so I had to ask my translator in the field to hold the camera steady while I attempted a piece […]

July 18, 2011

Hunger in the Horn of Africa

I found this blog by Simon Levine at the Overseas Development Institute an interesting discussion on the politics of famine. http://blogs.odi.org.uk/blogs/main/archive/2011/07/06/horn_of_africa_famine_2011_humanitarian_system.aspx It focuses on the hunger ravaging the Horn of Africa, with thousands of Somalis turning up at the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya every day. His main argument is that famines only tend […]

July 13, 2011

No more power cuts in Chad?

Chad’s new oil refinery at Djermaya has opened on schedule. Hopefully this should end the dark days (and nights) for N’Djamenois who are used to the city electricity supply going off for anything up to three months at a time. When I first arrived in Chad in 2008, I remember distinctly the eeriness of sunset, as […]

July 10, 2011

Welcome South Sudan

I thought it would be a nice idea to make my first entry on this blog a celebration of the birth of South Sudan. After years of neglect or reports of the horror of the war which raged on and off for close to fifty years, how wonderful to see the unbridled joy reported by […]