Chilean journalist Mónica González receives UN prize, seeks solidarity for Latin American journalists

By Dean Graber

Veteran journalist Mónica González Mujica received the 2010 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize at a ceremony in Brisbane, Australia. In her acceptance remarks before 300 people she recognized her colleagues throughout Latin America and sought support for the region punished by killings, organized crime, self-censorship, and silence, EFE reports in Spanish. See other stories in English and Spanish.

“The brave journalists who in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia and other countries dare to take an X-ray of the hidden network of organized crime run into impunity and silence,” she said. She also urged that “a committee of journalists at the highest level and with the backing, support and seal of an international organization, visit and monitor over and over again the regions most punished by violence.”

González, who investigated human rights abuses and the financial dealings of General Augusto Pinochet, is currently director of Chile's Center for Investigative Journalism (CIPER), which she co-founded in 2007. Following Chile's 1973 military coup, she spent four years in exile. After returning to the country, she was harassed by security services, imprisoned, and repeatedly sued, but she continued to write articles and books.

She devoted much of her acceptance speech to providing details of violence and aggressions against Latin American journalists. She also recognized the work of organizations dedicated to professional training, and ethical and democratic standards in the region such as Colombia’s Foundation for Press Freedom, the New Ibero-American Journalism Foundation, and the Knight Center for Journalism.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.