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Toyosi Ogunseye wins inaugural African Women in News Leadership Award

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the World Editors Forum (WEF) and the African Media Initiative (AMI) have announced that Toyosi Ogunseye, the editor of the Sunday Punch (Nigeria) is the winner of the inaugural African Women in News Leadership Award.

“Exemplary leaders such as Ms Ogunseye serve as an inspiration to the next generation of African leaders," said Cherilyn Ireton, Director of the World Editors Forum, the organization within WAN-IFRA for chief editors and other senior newsroom executives.

“WAN-IFRA and the World Editors Forum are honoured to co-host this Award, which is part of our region-wide ‘Women in News’ initiative to equip high potential women in media with the skills, strategies and networks to progress to more senior levels of decision making within their companies,” she said.

The award recognises and celebrates journalistic excellence and leadership among women editors across African newsrooms. And it comes at a critical moment – the Beijing +20 Review of the UN Conference on Women, the ongoing campaign for gender parity in Africa, and the growing realisation of the economic, political and social impact of women in a continent that is on the rise.

This must be accompanied by media that are ready to acknowledge and champion the importance and relevance of women, be it in the stories they carry or the leadership position given to women to exercise due authority and responsibility.

Ms Ogunseye was chosen for her outstanding contribution to Nigeria's media scene, as a journalist and editor. She is recognised for her commitment to high quality ethical journalism, particularly around the issues of the environment, justice and good governance. As a title editor of Nigeria's largest newspaper, The Punch, Ms Ogunseye has overseen an increase in circulation since 2013 and as the first female editor in the forty year history of The Punch, she is an inspiration not only to young women, but to all young journalists, says WAN-IFRA.

Eric Chinje, AMI’s CEO, was categorical in saying that “one cannot talk about Africa’s rise by leaving behind over 50% of its citizens”. He said the award sends a strong message that the 'business as usual' model of media leadership is over and what must be championed in the media are excellence, professionalism and merit without regard to age or gender.

Ms Ogunseye will be honoured in Nairobi during a gala dinner on 14 November. The organisers of the award were impressed by the high calibre of the applicants as an indication of talented and able pool of women media professionals, and look forward to seeing the African Women in News Leadership Award grow in popularity and prestige over the years.