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OAS to Sponsor the Latin American Prize for Investigative Journalism

  May 15, 2018

The Organization of American States (OAS) will sponsor the prestigious Latin American Journalism Research Award, organized by the Press and Society Institute (IPYS) and Transparency International (TI) since 2002.

This according to an agreement between the General Secretariat of the hemispheric institution and these two civil society organizations.

"It is a decision that demonstrates the commitment of the OAS to journalism that investigates corruption and human rights violations, sometimes under dictatorships and attacks by organized crime," said OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, after a recent meeting with Ricardo Uceda, Executive Director of IPYS.

Almagro said the initiative is in line with the work of the Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) and the resolutions of the VIII Summit of the Americas held in Lima last month.

Soon an agreement will be signed to institutionalize the participation of the OAS. Uceda said the awards, with prizes of $10,000 to the winner, $5,000 to the second and third places, and diplomas for ten finalists, will continue to be decided by an independent jury. Uceda added that, in support for journalists covering organized crime, since 2018 the Latin American Prize for Investigative Journalism will be named Javier Valdez in homage to this exemplary journalist killed by drug traffickers in Mexico -- where more than one hundred reporters have died since 2000.

The Secretary General of the OAS will present the Prize in November in Bogotá, during the Latin American Conference of Investigative Journalism (COLPIN 2018). And next year in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, where COLPIN 2019 will be held. In this city Javier Valdez ran the weekly Riodoce, when he was killed on May 15, 2017.

In addition, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Edison Lanza, announced an agreement with IPYS to reward the best articles making use of requests for access to public information, with distinctions that will be delivered annually in the COLPIN. "Investigative journalism plays a critical role in revealing facts of corruption, and in that context, the access to public information is an important useful tool for investigating irregularities," Lanza said.

With this new initiative, the OAS demonstrates its commitment to press freedom and the defense of independent journalism.

Reference: E-028/18