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Press Release 01/78 C2



Rome, 2 November 2001 -- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today has awarded CNN's Jim Clancy and Indian journalist Palagummi Sainath this year's A.H. Boerma Award, which recognizes journalistic excellence in raising awareness of global hunger. The prize brings with it an award of US$10,000, which will be split between the winners.

Mr. Clancy, anchor of Inside Africa, is recognized for his contribution in raising public awareness on the diverse problems facing the continent; Mr. Palagummi Sainath is a freelance journalist and photographer from India who has shaped the debate on food, hunger and rural development on the sub-continent.

"These journalists have helped to focus public attention at the international or regional level, on important aspects of the world's food problems," said Director-General Jacques Diouf during the presentation of the award at the organization's headquarters in Rome on the opening day of this year's FAO Conference.

"We recognize the important role of the media in the fight against hunger. Journalists are key allies who keep readers, listeners and viewers around the world informed of the plight of those who do not have enough to eat," he said.

Mr. Clancy has covered a wide-range of stories -- war in the Balkans, civil strife in Rwanda and famine in Somalia, to name a few. His postings include Beirut, Frankfurt, Rome and London. His understanding of the problems faced by developing societies had expanded the scope of CNN's international coverage and his program Inside Africa is focused on the issues that confront the enormous and culturally-varied continent.

Dr. Diouf said that Mr. Clancy had covered the enormous kaleidescope of African life, showing people the depth of Africa's culture and political landscape, as well as the tenacity with which many struggle for a better life.

Mr. Sainath is a freelance journalist, photographer and writer. He considers that food and agriculture are not just as a matter of output, but an issue of livelihood linked to a complicated socio-political structure. Well known for his book Everyone Loves a Good Drought, he continued writing about the poor even though, he said that, "I am not so sure that book publishers necessarily see the poor as a worthy investment."

Mr. Sainath was the first journalist in India to fight the idea that poverty was due only to poor food production or natural calamity; he broke existing stereotypes and changed the nature of the development debate in the Indian media.

He had also gathered an impressive photo archive on rural people, something he used to sensitize students to issues of poverty and hunger.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf stressed the role of the media in the fight against hunger. In a recent speech, he stated: "In a world where the sensational sells, the silent, daily drama of 800 million fellow human beings goes usually unnoticed. Hunger statistics, no matter how eloquent, are rapidly forgotten. But the stories of the media reach the hearts and minds of millions of people. It is here where the media has a precious role to play in the global endeavor against hunger and poverty."

The A.H. Boerma award, launched in 1978, honours former Director-General Addeke H. Boerma, whose work spanned three decades. It is presented biennially to a journalist or others whose writing focuses public attention on the world food problem, particularly related to agricultural and rural development in developing countries. All media may be nominated, whether print, radio, television or otherwise.

This year, 28 journalists were nominated from around the world. Their work ranged from documentaries to magazine and newspaper articles to radio programs.


For more information, contact Ms Anna Shen, FAO Media Relations, (06) 5705 5149 or cell (39) 340 671 7461 or

To visit the website for Inside Africa, click

For a biography of Jim Clancy, click


Audio-clips (2)

1. In an interview by Liliane Kambirigi (FAO Information), Indian freelance journalist, Mr. Palagummi Sainath, here, says how he perceives development.

Duration: 1min59sec

In Realaudio (instant play, 129Kb)

In Mp3 (Broadcast quality, 924Kb to be downloaded)

2. CNN anchor of "Inside Africa," Jim Clancy, talks to Anna Shen (FAO Information) about the way the media covers Africa and ways they can cover the continent better.

Duration: 2min12sec

In Realaudio (instant play, 144Kb)

In Mp3 (Broadcast quality, 1Mb to be downloaded)


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