By Daniel Guerra
Carlos Dada, the editor and founder of El Salvador’s El Faro news website, received the Anna Politkovskaya Award on Oct. 5 for the website’s investigative journalism and reporting. The prize honors Russian reporter and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya, who was killed in 2006 in Moscow. The prize is given by the Italian weekly publication Internazionale and goes to journalists working in hazardous situations or regions.
El Faro, which means “The Lighthouse” in Spanish, was founded in 1998 by Dada and Jorge Simán, both sons of political refugees. The website, Central America’s first online-only publication, covers El Salvador’s ongoing problems with gang violence and government transparency. The website also investigates the government’s efforts to negotiate with the gangs, which has prompted threats against its reporters. Dada also gained attention for his article on the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Óscar Romero in San Salvador by government forces.
“In critical countries or regions, and weak states, journalism also becomes a form of activism. It is not only to inform, but to transform,” Dada said in his acceptance speech. “To provoke awareness and constantly remind people their right to dignity and a better quality of life, and their moral obligation to engage in public debate and demand more of their authorities.”
El Faro has received other major prizes for its investigative work in El Salvador. The Washington Office of Latin America named the website one of its recipients of the 2012 Human Rights Awards. Dada also received the Columbia School of Journalism’s Maria Moors Cabot Prize for outstanding reporting in Latin American and the Caribbean in 2011.
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.