Finalist, The Rory Peck Award for News

Pacôme Pabandji (Central African Republic)

December 2013-May 2014, Central African Republic

CAR: Descent into Chaos

Broadcast by AFPTV

Pacôme has provided balanced, comprehensive coverage from his home country since the start of the current crisis in Central African Republic. At 23, this is his first experience of covering conflict. His entry of rushes covers the daily atrocities committed in Bangui and other parts of the country, as well as eye-witness testimony from families, refugees and humanitarian workers. It also includes glimpses of everyday life – a church service, a fashion show – giving a rounded view of his troubled country.

His work has been at great personal cost. He has been caught in crossfire, held by various militias, injured and threatened. His partner and daughter have been forced to leave the country and because of the danger, Pacôme himself cannot live in the family home either.
 

Biography

23 year old Pacôme grew up between Cameroon, where his mother is from, and the Central African Republic, the country of his father. After studying ITC in Yaounde, Pacôme finished a Bachelor's degree in Humanitarian law at the Université de Bangui in 2013. 

He began freelancing for AFPTV in September 2013, just as the Central African Republic was plunged into chaos and violence. Previously, Pacôme had been a correspondent for a local news website, Le Journal de Bangui. He has also worked as a VJ for the pan-African TV channel Africa 24 and for the Cameroonian broadcaster, Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) and as a presenter.

Judges Comments

“He achieved one of the most difficult things in journalism – to be an objective observer inside a civil war. He cast a dispassionate eye on a conflict that’s passionate and dangerous on all sides.” "Some journalists can go to cover a story – then leave again. He can’t. The conviction he must have to keep going – to keep telling the story of his country – is admirable."