Pacific Media Watch

1 June 2017

SAMOA: Editor of Samoa Observer wins international journalism award

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Samoa Observer editor Mata'afa Keni Lesa ... recipient of the international Boerma Award for food security reporting. Image: Samoa Observer

By Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa
APIA (Pacific Media Watch/Samoa Observer): Samoa Observer editor Mata’afa Keni Lesa has been recognised by the United Nations for his reportage on food security.

Lesa has been jointly awarded the 2016-2017 Boerma Award with Kenyan journalist Zeynab Zandati by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

He is the first Pacific Islander to win the award, where journalists are recognised for bringing public attention to food security issues and topics in developing countries.

Individual journalists or several journalists have received the Boerma Award since its inception in 1979, which honours the important role of the media in the fight against hunger, the FAO said.

Lesa was informed via email on May 30, 2017 by Enrique Yeves, secretary of FAO Conference Awards, that he was a recipient.

“I take this opportunity to express to you my heartfelt congratulations," he said.

Lesa said he is humbled by the award and gave credit to God.

'A better Samoa'
“I am absolutely honoured.”

He dedicated the award to the management and staff of the Samoa Observer.

“It’s not just about me, it’s about the work our team does and the stories of those people we tell on the pages of this newspaper and share with the world online.

“Ultimately this is about Samoa. It’s about a collective effort to improve people’s livelihoods by not only highlighting the truth and the struggles but also finding common ground where all parties can come together to build a better society, a better Samoa.”

Lesa, who has worked at the Samoa Observer for 18 years, will travel to Rome in July to receive his award at a special ceremony held during the FAO Conference.

Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa is founder and editor-in-chief of the Samoa Observer.

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