Challenge: How can professional journalism be conducted in regimes with deterrent political, security and socio-economic conditions?
Arif Elsawi began his fellowship by working to deepen his understanding of the journalism environment beyond my country, and particularly in authoritarian regimes. He attended classes in African studies, international relations, media and design-thinking, as well as talks by experts at the Center for African Studies and the Freeman-Spogli Institute for international Studies. He has gained knowledge and new insights into areas such as media economics and technology’s role in reporting and distributing news that is shaping his work on his journalism challenge project.
Arif Elsaui is a journalist in East Africa, focusing on Sudan and South Sudan. After the Sudanese government cracked down on independent media in 2008, he and other journalists created the Sudanese Journalists’ Network to campaign against censorship and advocate for laws protecting press freedoms. He was head of politics and economics coverage at the Al-Ahdath, an independent newspaper based in Khartoum from 2007 to 2009, when he relocated to Nairobi, Kenya, because independent Sudanese media was collapsing. Al-Ahdath was later shut down by the government. Earlier in his career, Elsaui was a reporter at Al Sahafa, for whom he covered peace talks between the government of Sudan and the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement, including the development, signing and implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. He has reported from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda. In 2014, he was a Sudanese Youth Leader Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.