MONTERREY, Mexico – Honorees and speakers at the CEMEX+FNPI New Journalism Prizes ceremony here called on the Mexican government to protect news-gatherers from the violence that has claimed the lives of 11 reporters, photographers and editors so far this year.
Latin American and Spanish journalists stand with their beleaguered Mexican counterparts, Jaime Abello, director of the Foundation for New Ibero-American Journalism, or FNPI, said at Tuesday night’s event in Monterrey.
“We want to raise of voice of strength, respect and solidarity with the Mexican journalists in these very difficult moments,” Abello said.
Sixty-five journalists have been slain since 2000 in Mexico, according to the country’s independent National Human Rights Commission.
While most of the killings are thought to be the work of drug cartels or other organized crime elements, corrupt state and local officials have also been implicated in some cases.
Authorities in Mexico must provide security for the news media or see fear-driven self-censorship deny the people their right to be informed, Abello said.
The prizes are a joint project of the FNPI, which was created by Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 2000, and Monterrey-based CEMEX, the world’s No. 3 cement maker.
A record 1,370 entries were submitted for the ninth edition of the CEMEX+FNPI New Journalism Prizes.
Veteran Peruvian reporter Gustavo Gorriti received a career achievement award for his more than three decades in the profession.
“The challenges are very tough for the journalists who face the violence of organized crime,” he said as he accepted the prize, which is accompanied by $30,000 in cash.
The award for best reporting went to Argentine journalist Leila Guerriero for her article in Gatopardo magazine, “Rastro en los huesos” (Traces in the bones), about the thousands of people “disappeared” by Argentina’s 1976-1983 military regime.
Mexico’s Alejandro Cossio received the photography prize for photos published by The Associated Press and Mexican newsweekly Zeta. EFE