Editor and journalist fighting tyranny in Sierra Leone
In October 2004 Mr. Kamara was detained in one of Sierra Leone's most notorious prisons. After a year-long court battle and pressure from the international community, he was released in November, 2005.
Paul Kamara is the editor of the widely respected For Di People newspaper and Chairman of the National League for Human Rights in Sierra Leone. Despite continual harassment and intimidation, For Di People has consistently crusaded against corruption and other social ills, and championed freedom of the press, human rights, and democratic values in Sierra Leone.
Paul Kamara was born on 12 August 1956 in the District of Kambia, northern Sierra Leone. A Catholic, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fourah Bay College of the University of Sierra Leone, and a senior diploma in journalism from the Thomson Foundation in London. He has been the editor of the For Di People newspaper since 1983. He is President of the Association of Independent Journalists, Chairman of the National League for Human Rights, and was briefly manager of the Sierra Leone National football team. He served as Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists and in 1996, as Secretary of State, Lands, Housing and the Environment, in the transitional government that brought multi-party democracy to his country.
In 1997, Kamara won the London International Press Directory Freedom of the Press award, and in 1999 the US-based World Press Review International Editor of the Year Award. His work has been supported over the last decade by organizations ranging from UNESCO, the National Endowment for Democracy and the French Reporters Sans Frontieres.
Kamara has been detained by various regimes and at times his newspaper has been banned. In 1996 there was an attempt to assassinate him, because of his demands for multi-party elections. In October 2004 Kamara was sentenced to two years in prison stemming from October 2003 articles that criticized the President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. The court also recommended that For Di People be banned for six months. He was released in November 2005 after a long court battle and pressure from the international community. His colleague, Deputy Editor Harry Yasaneh, died from injuries suffered by a beating from government strongmen. Mr. Kamara continues his struggle to bring a free press and justice to the Sierra Leone.
Year 2001 Honoree Paul Kamara, editor and journalist, fighting tyranny in Sierra Leone.
Paul Kamara Award Ceremony Reception at the Palazzo Carignano in Turin Italy.
Paul Kamara accepts the Civil Courage Prize while his wife Isatu looks on.