Journalists covering armed violence in Latin America appear in Top 100 Most Influential List

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  • October 11, 2013

By Larisa Manescu

Jineth Bedova Lima, Carlos Dada, Marcela Turati and Anabel Hernández are some of the journalists working out of Latin America mentioned in a list recently published by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) that compiles 100 of the most influential journalists covering armed conflict in regions around the world. AOAV is a UK-based charity group that focuses on reducing armed violence by hosting in-country programs, lobbying governments and investigating issues.

On its site, AOAV mentions that it did not follow any strict methodology to pick the journalists, adding that while the list is by no means a comprehensive one, it includes both experienced veterans and newer journalists that have demonstrated strong potential. On a similar note, AOAV said that the categories of journalists included writers, TV and radio correspondents and documentary-makers but not photographers and videographers.

The list includes 12 journalists who have extensively contributed to reporting on armed violence in Latin America. Some of them are:

Jineth Bedoya Lima (@jbedoyalima)

A Colombian journalist and an editor for El Tiempo, Bedoya covers drug trafficking, corruption, organized crime, and violence against women in the nation, the last of which is fueled by personal experience. While investigating the death of several prisoners at the Modelo prison in Bogotá in 2000, Bedoya was kidnapped, tortured and sexually assaulted. She has spoken openly about the experience and the subsequent legal struggles she's been involved in to address the larger issue of impunity surrounding sexual violence in Colombia. In 2012, the Colombian Attorney General declared her abuse a crime against humanity.

Marcela Turati (@marcelaturati)

Turati takes a humanist approach to reporting, working closely with victims of violence within the context of the drug trade in Mexico, and tells their stories so that their voices can be equally represented in politics and the media. In 2007, she founded the journalism organization Periodistas de a Pie ("Journalists on Foot," in Spanish) with the aim of creating a network for journalists covering high-risk issues such as poverty, civic participation and human rights. In 2013, Harvard University awarded her with the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism.

Carlos Dada (@CarlosDada)

A pioneer of investigative journalism in El Salvador, Dada created the news website El Faro in 1998 to produce high-quality independent journalism on drug trafficking, corruption and organized crime. In 2011, he received the Maria Moors Cabot Prize, the oldest award in international journalism, for his coverage of the Caribbean and South America.

Mónica González Mujica

Mujica investigated human rights violations during the 17-year Pinochet regime in Chile, during which she was exiled for the first four years. However, she returned to the country and persisted in her reporting – which also dug into the financial dealings of the dictator – despite multiple threats. In 2010, she was awarded the 2010 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize for her work. Today, she is the director of the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIPER) in the capital, Santiago.

Anabel Hernández

A Mexican journalist and author, Hernández investigates corruption, drug cartels and slave labor in the nation. In 2012, she received the Golden Pen of Freedom Award, which is annually given by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers to individuals and organizations fighting repressive governments. Her latest book “Nacroland: The Mexican Drug Lords And Their Godfathers” comprehensively examines the drug war in Mexico, assigning blame not only to the drug cartels but also to the various facets of corrupt government enabling them. The book, released this September, has garnered such international prominence and stirred up so much controversy within the nation that the National Human Rights Commission offered Hernández two full-time bodyguards.

Juanita León (@jleonlasilla)

León is a Colombian journalist, author and lecturer who founded La Silla Vacia in 2009, an investigative news site that reports on Colombian politics. She was among the first journalists to expose the link between Colombian politicians and paramilitary groups, and published a series of articles in 2004 called No somos machos pero somos muchos ("We’re not mighty but we’re many") on the struggle and resistance of indigenous people against guerrilla groups. Harvard University made her a Nieman fellow in 2007.

Other journalists on the list include Karen Marón (@KarenMaron), Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (@lourdesgnavarro), Teresa Bo (@TeresaBo), Natalia Springer (@nataliaspringer) and Mariana Sánchez.

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.