A self-described “stubborn child,” Djemillah Mourade Peerbux found strength in her tightly knit family, but preferred to discover on her own.
“I was very curious,” Djemillah says, “and I loved to learn by myself.”
Djemillah, now a news editor for the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, is working to raise journalistic standards across the state.
“As a journalist, you have to be able to say: ‘I am not going to write this or report things in that way,’” Djemillah says. “Personal ethics will guide you throughout your career.”
“Journalism is about telling stories,” Djemillah says. “It’s holding a mirror up to society and giving meaning to what we see.”
“The media plays a very important role in Mauritius,” Djemillah adds. “It serves as a balance, a force holding those in power accountable.”
Djemillah divides her time between reporting and running a handful of NGOs, all rooted in a commitment to equality and communal development.
Among the organizations she founded is The Ripple Project, a community-led initiative to address the issue of period poverty in Mauritius.
In her work, Djemillah returns to her early interest in storytelling and in learning from those around her.
“When we are open to being taught, everything is a valuable lesson,” Djemillah says.
“And I believe that’s what an inspiring leader looks like. It’s someone who values human connection and is ready to learn from every situation and soul he or she meets.”
Whether reporters or media consumers, everyone has a vital role to play in the dissemination of reliable information, as Djemillah explains.
“As a reporter, you are dealing with people’s lives and what you write can change theirs forever,” Djemillah says. “That’s why I am very careful when reporting on minors or on sexual assault.”
To this, Djemillah adds that it’s up to journalists to uphold their principles over their bottom line. She warns against media outlets cutting corners or pandering to audiences. Being a better journalist and media consumer, Djemillah explains, starts with an open mind.
“Everything in life carries a lesson,” Djemillah says. “You have to be open to being taught and to remember that you’re not too small to make a change.”
Interested in Djemillah’s work? Learn how you can stop, reflect, and verify on our YALIChecks page.
The views and opinions expressed here belong to those interviewed and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government.