Nima Elbagir is an award-winning senior international correspondent for CNN based in London. She joined CNN in February 2011 as a Johannesburg-based correspondent before moving to the network’s Nairobi bureau and later London.
This year Elbagir received the prestigious 2019 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards in the Investigative category for her reporting on human rights abuses, with the jurors citing her “fearless reporting across Africa, from a modern-day slave market in Libya, to child labor in Congo, and a smuggler’s network in Nigeria, documented rarely seen exploitation and corruption.”
Elbagir was named a recipient of the 2018 Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation, joining an elite group of female journalists who have been recognized for reporting from some of the world’s most dangerous regions, and also received the 2018 International Center for Journalist’s Excellence in International Reporting Award for her work.
In the fall of 2017, Elbagir traveled to Libya with producer Raja Razek and photojournalist Alex Platt to investigate reports of African migrants being sold at slave auctions. Carrying concealed cameras onto a property outside the capital of Tripoli, Elbagir and Razek witnessed a dozen African migrants auctioned off — some for as little as $400 — in less than 10 minutes. The report was instrumental in the passage of unprecedented United Nations sanctions against six men identified as traffickers by the U.N. Libya Sanctions Committee in June 2018.
Elbagir’s shocking report from Libya, which sparked a global outcry, was recognized with a George Polk Award in the Foreign Television Reporting category, the Royal Television Society (RTS) Award for Scoop of the Year, a Golden Nymph Award in the Best TV News Item category at the Monte Carlo TV Festival and the Television Trophy at the Bayeux Calvados-Normandy Awards in 2018.
Earlier this year Elbagir investigated the use of child labor in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after which the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz – Daimler – announced an audit of its entire supply chain. She also reported from Sudan on the case of Noura Hussein, the Sudanese teenager who was sentenced to death for killing her rapist husband. Following CNN’s exclusive reporting of Hussein’s first-hand account, a Sudanese court overturned her death sentence after accepting Hussein’s version of events.
Following her investigations into abuses perpetrated against women and children – including the sale of displaced Nigerian children to Boko Haram and the mutilation of British Somali girls by FGM practitioners in Nairobi – Elbagir was named the RTS 2016 Specialist Journalist of the Year.
At immense personal risk, Elbagir reported on the Ebola outbreak that ravaged West Africa in 2014, going inside Liberia’s quarantine zones and exploring the devastation the disease wrought across both urban and rural communities. She was also the first international journalist to report from Chibok, the northern Nigerian village from which over 250 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in 2014. Nearly two years after their abduction, Elbagir and producer Stephanie Busari obtained a ‘proof of life’ video for some of the kidnapped girls.
Over the years she has reported from Somalia at the height of the famine; exclusively interviewed Safia Gadhafi, the former Libyan leader’s wife, in Tripoli; and reported on the child slaves sold and re-sold by ISIS. Elbagir also anonymously reported CNN’s ‘Damascus Undercover’ series, gaining extraordinary access to life in Syria over an extensive period in the summer of 2012. She went on to win the Overseas Press Club’s David E Kaplan and the Edward R Murrow awards, but was not identified at the time for security concerns.
As a freelancer for CNN, she covered the escalating violence against women in the Congo; Nigeria’s 50th anniversary of independence; the South Sudanese Referendum; and CNN’s coverage of the Hajj.
Before joining CNN, Sudanese-born Elbagir worked in various capacities for the UK’s Channel 4 for a number of years starting in 2005: She freelanced from Kabul for Channel 4 News; reported for the “Unreported World” documentary strand; and both reported and presented for Channel 4 News and More4 News.
During this period, Elbagir’s exclusives included getting the first interview with the Aegis security company whistleblower on the Iraq “Trophy Videos” (2005); interviewing Jacob Zuma in the run-up to his rape trial (2006); being the only Western journalist reporting from Mogadishu during the U.S. bombing of Somalia (2007); and broadcasting the first televised evidence of Iranian weaponry smuggled to the Taliban (2009).
Follow Nima on Twitter: @NimaCNN.