Sputnik Kilambi, Free Speech Radio News co-founder, dies at 55

By Andrew Lapin

Sputnik Kilambi, a veteran international radio reporter who helped found Free Speech Radio News, died July 7 in Paris after a battle with liver cancer. She was 55.

Her daughter announced Kilambi’s death on Facebook, noting that in addition to cancer, Kilambi had also battled hepatitis C for many years.

FSRN launched in 2000, with Kilambi as one of the network’s original correspondents. She filed dispatches from locations including Columbia, Sri Lanka and Côte d’Ivoire and was often the only female reporter in these war zones. Among her stories with the greatest impact was a 2002 expose of sex trafficking in the Balkans.

Kilambi also reported for Radio France Internationale and worked for United Nations Radio, helping establish media outlets and train audio journalists around the world. In 2007, she was named a Knight International Journalism Fellow based in Rwanda, where she helped launch the country’s first independent television news station. She took on another Knight fellowship in Ghana in 2011.

FSRN and Democracy Now! aired tributes to Kilambi following news of her death.

Kilambi was born Oct. 4, 1957, in Hyderabad, India, the day her namesake satellite was launched.

She is survived by her partner and her daughter.

Please send obituary notices to lapin@current.org

  • Bill Tutuki

    Damn! I noticed that there are so many obits of Pacifica People in this blog. I know there a few PBS and NPR people here but not as Dramatic as this.

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