Chilean journalist Mónica González wins UN Press Freedom Prize

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  • April 13, 2010

By Dean Graber

Mónica González Mujica, a veteran journalist whose investigative reporting repeatedly challenged the Pinochet regime, has won a UNESCO prize awarded to those who promote freedom of expression, particularly at the risk of their own lives.

Gonzáléz was named laureate of the 2010 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, named for the Colombian journalist killed in December 1986 for denouncing drug barons. She will receive the award at a May 3 ceremony in Brisbane, Australia, marking World Press Freedom Day.

Gonzáléz, 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.

“Throughout her professional life, Mónica González Mujica has shown courage in shining the light on the dark side of Chile,” said Joe Thloloe, president of the 12-person jury who selected her for the prize. "She has embodied the very spirit of the Award."

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.