Human Rights Watch honors Mexican, Venezuelan journalists for working in face of persecution

Human Rights Watch honored a Mexican and Venezuelan journalist for defending freedom of expression, even after suffering persecution and threats.

Luis Horacio Nájera from Mexico and Carlos Correa from Venezuela received the Hellman/Hammett Prize, which awards financial support to writers who suffer persecution for exercising their freedom of expression. This year, 48 journalists, bloggers, novelists, poets, playwrights, cartoonists and songwriters from 24 countries received the prize.

Correa is director of the non-profit Public Space (Espacio Público in Spanish), which advocates for freedom of expression in Venezuela. In 2010, Venezuelan state television broadcasted a smear campaign against Correa accusing him of receiving money from the United States. Government prosecutors also opened a criminal investigation against Public Space for receiving support from other international groups. In December 2010, Correa was attacked and received death threats outside the National Assembly in the capital Caracas while protesting in favor of freedom of expression in the Andean country.

Mexican Luis Nájera worked as a correspondent for the newspaper Reforma in Cuidad Juárez, considered the world's most dangerous city. He investigated cases of corruption, along with drug, human and arms trafficking in the city bordering El Paso, Texas. Nájera received several death threats, forcing him to apply for asylum in Vancouver, Canada in 2008. Currently, he is a journalism fellow at the Massey College at the University of Toronto thanks to support from the Canadian Association of Journalists for Free Expression and Scotiabank.

See a video created by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) about the death threats Nájera received while working in Juárez.