Miroslava Breach Award announced to honor journalists killed in Latin America

Following her murder on March 23, 2017 in Chihuahua, Mexico, journalist Miroslava Breach has entered the tragic list of communicators who have been targeted by violence in Latin America for bringing to light the illegalities of criminal groups and public power in the region.

Now Breach and other colleagues who have been silenced are being honored with a prize that will highlight academic and journalistic works that focus on the theme "Systems of power and violence against journalists in Latin America."

The award, launched on Oct. 13, is organized in partnership between the journal Argumentos, from the Universidade Autônoma Metropolitana - Xochimilco (UAM-X) of Mexico, the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (Clacso), the Faculty of Culture and Communication from the Metropolitan University for Education and Labor (FCCUMET) in Argentina, and the newspapers La Jornada (Mexico), Página 12 (Argentina) and Público (Spain).

The initiative invites journalists, researchers and activists from all Latin American and Caribbean countries to submit journalistic or academic articles on "Journalism, Violence and Impunity,” "Aggression against the communicative guarantees of citizens," “Economic and political interests of the media above the social interest and the common good” and "Academia, violence and the teaching of communication.” The deadline to apply is Dec. 27.

The texts must be in Spanish and may have up to three co-authors. At least one of the authors should have links with some institution in the Clacso network, which brings together civil organizations and research centers in Latin America.

An international panel of judges appointed by the organizers of the award will select the five best works. The academic articles chosen will be published by Argumentos magazine and the journalistic texts will be published by La Jornada or by Página 12, in print and digital format.

The Miroslava Breach award “aims to be a call for attention to the absolute impunity that reigns in this field: these crimes are never investigated nor their guilty convicted, transforming the State into an accomplice and, not infrequently, as promoter and instigator of this brutal form of violence that grows and is multiplied in our region.”

Sinaloa cartel ordered journalist’s murder: Attorney General’s Office

The Attorney General of the State of Chihuahua concluded that the murder of Miroslava Breach was ordered by the criminal group Gente Nueva, an armed wing of the Sinaloa cartel that operates in the southwest of the state.

The information was disclosed on Oct. 11 by El Heraldo de Chihuahua. According to the publication, the Attorney General’s Office reviewed hundreds of hours of recording of security cameras that recorded the route taken by the vehicle carrying Breach’s killer.

The perpetrators of the attack on the journalist also killed another person, whom they tried to incriminate for the murder of Breach, El Heraldo de Chihuahua reported. They also tried to point the investigators to rival criminal group Nuevo Cártel de Juárez, which operates in the same region.

The investigation was closed and concluded that Gente Nueva murdered the journalist because of her investigative reports against the group published in the newspapers La Jornada and Norte de Juárez, where she worked.

According to El Heraldo, the Attorney General has already ordered the arrest of at least four people it says are involved in the murder of Miroslava Breach.

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.