|Born||Johannesburg, South Africa|
|Alma mater||University of Witwatersrand|
|Occupation||Journalist, over 20 years|
|Employer||Middle East Bureau Chief for RT and Founder / CEO of Newshound Media International|
Paula Slier is a South African television, radio and print journalist, news editor, and war correspondent, who is based in the Middle East. She serves as the Middle East Bureau Chief for RT, as well as the founder and CEO of Newshound Media International.
Early life and family
Slier was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is the eldest of three, having both a younger brother and sister. She attended Waverley Girls' High, following which she enrolled at the University of Witwatersrand, graduating with a degree in international relations and philosophy.
Slier is Jewish and in 2015 made a documentary entitled 119 Lives Unlived about her Dutch family members who were killed during the Holocaust.. The documentary was awarded third place in the Best Documentary Film Category at the Moscow International TV Festival.
Slier began her career in journalism in South African community television. Her first big break came when, after working for nearly 2 years without payment, she was offered a job as a producer for The Breakfast Club morning show at the South African Broadcasting Corporation, with management saying, "Seeing you worked so hard for us without being paid, imagine how hard you'll work if we pay you." Whilst at the SABC, she worked as a senior reporter and anchorwoman, reading the late night news on SABC3. In 2002 she decided to try break into international news reporting and so resigned and used her savings to purchase a small camera and laptop and move to the Middle East. When Yassar Arafat was dying in 2004, she travelled to Ramallah to cover the story after contacting the then-news editor of Eyewitness News, Katy Katapodis, who put her on air after a 20 second conversation, saying it was the fastest she had ever employed anyone. As a freelance news reporter in the Middle East she contributed reports to Eyewitness News, Carte Blanche, and Reuters Africa.
In 2005, she was appointed as the Middle East Bureau Chief for RT and has twice been recognized by Russian President Vladimir Putin for her "colossal input into the development of Russian journalism and for her professionalism in covering issues of paramount importance." Slier's assignments have taken her to the frontlines of Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Egypt, Gaza, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Lebanon. She has been embedded with the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Syrian and Russian armies in Syria, and the Peshmerga (Kurdish) forces in Iraq. She was also one of the only female journalists allowed access into the Hamas smuggling tunnels in 2008.
In addition to RT, Slier manages Newshound Media International which she established in 2008. The company produces content for several international networks, with Slier managing a group of stringers around the world, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.
119 Lives Unlived
In 2015, Slier presented the RT documentary 119 Lives Unlived, about her relatives killed during the Holocaust. She travelled to Amsterdam, where letters from Philip "Flip" Slier, her first cousin once removed, were discovered in the 1990s during a renovation at the former home of her great-grandparents. The letters were written after Flip was sent to a work camp in the Netherlands once he had turned 18. During the documentary, she interviewed Constant Kusters, president of the Dutch Far Right Dutch Peoples-Union, and the grandson of Auschwitz commander Rudolf Hoess.
Slier has received death threats for some of the stories she has covered. In 2014 she winced while filming a Grad missile being fired behind her and was wrongly accused by some pro-Ukrainian activists of laughing. In 2015, she was forced to leave Kiev after local journalist, Denis Kazansky, urged security services to detain her, saying, "The worker of the Kremlin propaganda channel Russia Today (RT) Paula Slier, who laughingly reported on self-defense forces burning Ukrainian soldiers alive with 'Grad' missiles." Another Ukrainian journalist, Anatoly Shary, posted a YouTube video accusing Kazansky of lies and fact-spinning.
Ban from Ukraine
In June 2018, Slier travelled to Kiev to attend a conference on freedom of speech which was organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Upon arrival at Boryspil Airport, she was stopped at customs and had her passport taken away by officials after it was flagged. Slier was denied entry into Ukraine (where she had previously reported on the conflict) “in accordance with Ukrainian law regarding border control” and made to wait in the airport for 8 hours. Slier and fellow journalist, Yevgeny Primakov of the Rossiya 24 channel, have been prohibited from returning to Ukraine for a period of 5 years.
Slier focuses her time on RT, Newshound, and giving lectures and workshops on university campuses around the world regarding journalism and the safety of journalists. She is a fan of historical fiction.
- Finalist in CNN World Report's news category for a story about Africa's first space astronaut in 2003.
- Shortlisted by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) for reporting on Hamas's network of tunnels in Gaza in 2009.
- Finalist in Russia's 2012 TEFI Television Awards (the equivalent of the Russian Emmy Awards) for her reporting on Libya.
- Recognized in 2014 by online publication TheMediaOnline as one of the top 40 South African journalists under 40.
- Named as the Southern Africa winner in the media category of Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards in 2014 and was a finalist in the Continental Awards.
- Awarded the inaugural Europcar Women in Leadership Award at the 2014 ABSA Jewish Achiever Awards.
- "Paula Slier".
- "Paula Slier".
- "Newshound Media International". Newshound International Media.
- "119 Lives Unlived". 20 May 2015. RT. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
- "EWN contributor : Paula Slier".
- "Paula Slier". RT. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
- "Newshound Media International". Newshound Media International. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "Top 40: Young, phenomenal and making waves [part 2] - The Media Online".