Telling The Story: Remembering Elisabeth Blanche Olofio
A new investigation into the attack on Central African Republic journalist Elisabeth Blanche Olofio reveals the pressing need for emergency visas for local journalists in distress.
Elisabeth Blanche Olofio’s reporting exposed local corruption and human rights abuses in the Central African Republic, providing her community with crucial information on the ongoing rebel advance at the time. On 5 January 2013, she was severely beaten, tortured and raped by Séléka rebels in her hometown of Bambari in connection to her reporting.
She suffered from sustained psychological and physical trauma and succumbed to her injuries in June 2014. Elisabeth was 34 years old.
The A Safer World For The Truth initiative’s research team investigated the attack on Elisabeth Blanche Olofio, revealing the vulnerability of local journalists reporting in conflict zones to becoming targets of brutal and sometimes even lethal violence, whereas attacks against them are rarely investigated, let alone lead to justice being served.
The investigation reveals potential suspects responsible for Elisabeth’s torture, rape and murder, how those responsible have evaded accountability, as well as documenting the suffering Elisabeth endured as a result of the attack.
It strongly recommends that States prioritise and arrange emergency visas for local journalists at risk, including granting visas to immediate family members. To prevent murders of journalists and help them escape potential attacks, as happened in the case of Elisabeth. Emergency visas could be made available to the relatively small group of journalists worldwide who are in mortal danger and eligible for this support.
Elisabeth Blanche Olofio was a journalist. She was killed because of it. Now we are telling the story.