Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tom Block, founder of the Institute of
Prophetic Activist Art, Sowore Omoyele
and the painting by Tom of Sowore, at
the inaugural opening of the Human Rights
Painting Project in Washington DC, 2003.

Sowore Omoyele to visit the 

Institute of Prophetic Activist Art

Sowore Omoyele will be visiting the next session of the Institute, to discuss his activist beginnings in Nigeria, as well as the inspiration for his beginning "Sahara Reporters," an online newsmagazine which gives the real story about what is going on inside of his native country.

I first met Sowore when he spoke at the inaugural exhibition of my Human Rights Painting Project, at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington DC in April 2003.  I was deeply impressed with him then - he was, at the time, a student at Columbia University - and have followed his career since. I'm excited and honored that he will be visiting the Institute to share his experiences with the participants.

As a student struggling against the Nigerian military junta of the ’80s and ’90s, Omoyele Sowore marvelled at the power of the journalists who spoke out against corruption -- only to become frustrated as the mainstream Nigerian media succumbed to intimidation.
After surviving abduction and torture and moving to the US, Sowore realized that Nigeria’s emerging online culture opened the door for web journalism in Africa. As a partner in Elendu Reports, Sowore began exposing the financial abuses of corrupt politicians. In 2006, he founded Sahara Reporters, a popular online news platform with a reputation for scathing and accurate reporting.
Sahara Reporters is an online news agency based in New York City that focuses on promoting citizen journalism by encouraging everyday people to report stories about corruption, human rights abuses and other political misconduct inNigeria. A frontier news source for advocacy journalismSahara Reporters has been referred to as the “Wikileaks of Africa” by The Daily Beast.
Sowore Omoyele by Tom Block
Based in New York City, Sahara Reporters was founded in 2006 by Nigerian political activist Omoyele Sowore. Sahara Reporters is supported by grants donated by the Ford Foundation which has donated $175,000 to the organization over the past two years. Sahara Reporters has also received a $450,000
grant from The Omidyar Foundation.
Sahara Reporters has gained a significantly large following both in Nigeria and amongst Nigerians abroad as no other Nigerian news agency could operate with the same level of transparency for fear of government action. Although Sahara Reporters report from New York and are protected by the First Amendment, both Omoyele Sowore and the organization have received various threats from individuals whose illegal activities have been exposed on the Sahara Reporters website, as well as the Nigerian government. The Nigerian government has also placed Sahara Reporters on the top of a “security watch” list at all points of entry and exit in Nigeria.

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