Frank Nyakairu has done outstanding work reporting on human rights abuses. He has become an authoritative witness for the voiceless victims of genocide, rape and other violent offenses stemming from wars in East Africa.
Nyakairu, 30, a correspondent for Reuters and The Independent magazine, spent seven years as a reporter at the Daily Monitor of Kampala. During his career, he has chronicled atrocities committed against civilians in his native Uganda, in southern Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He reported on war crimes and abuses perpetrated in detention centers against the backdrop of two decades of conflict that roiled northern Uganda.
In 2002, his reports angered authorities, who raided and shut down the Monitor for several days, detaining and charging Nyakairu with threatening national security. The charges were later dropped.
“Frank Nyakairu is a passionate journalist committed to defending human rights,” said Sharon Lamwaka of the African Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, who nominated Nyakairu for the Knight Award. “I feel confident that he will continue to succeed as a journalist committed to exposing human rights abuses in Uganda.”
Nyakairu is a versatile multimedia reporter, whose work also is disseminated by the South African Broadcasting Corp., the Spanish news agency EFE, and Nation TV Uganda (NTV). He is also the chairman of the Forum for African Investigative Reporters, which probes international traffic in human beings, drugs and weapons. In Nyakairu’s own words, each story “has taught us more about humanity’s inclination toward destruction and the power of writing to mitigate its effects.”
Nyakairu helps to cultivate the next generation of investigative reporters as he coaches younger colleagues. “As a conflict and human rights reporter, Nyakairu does not only publish extraordinary stories daily, he willingly shares his talent with others,” said Betty Dindi, news manager of NTV.