The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) has named El Salvador's online newspaper El Faro as one of the recipients of the 2012 Human Rights Awards, recognizing the site's investigative journalism that "shines a spotlight on corruption and organized crime," WOLA announced on Wednesday, May 9.
This year's awards, which honor those who work for human rights, democracy, and social justice in Latin America, also will go to Helen Mack, president of the Myrna Mack Foundation in Guatemala, and PASSOS Education and Training Center, which works with at-risk youth and violence prevention in El Salvador. The theme of the 2012 awards, to be celebrated during a ceremony and benefit gala in September in Washington, D.C., is "Overcoming Violence: The New Human Rights Agenda."
El Faro (The Lighthouse) an independent journalism site, was founded in 1998 by Carlos Dada and Jorge Simán. "We strongly believe that independent media play a crucial role in demanding accountability and pointing out what is not being done right in the state institutions. Thus, we put a strong emphasis on investigating corruption and abuse of power," Dada wrote for ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America, in the summer of 2011.
El Faro has been in the news recently because of the news site's reporting on the Salvadoran government's alleged negotiating with gangs in an attempt to reduce the country's homicide rate. After the controversial article was published, El Faro journalists were told they were at risk, although a presidential spokesperson claimed the country was committed to guaranteeing journalists' safety.