Reports from El Salvador, Venezuela, Brazil and Panama win at the Latin American Awards for Investigative Journalism

Journalists from El Salvador, Venezuela, Brazil and Panama were winners at the 15th edition of the Latin American Awards for Investigative Journalism. The Press and Society Institute (IPYS for its acronym in Spanish) and nonprofit Transparency International revealed the winners on Nov. 5 during the 2017 Latin American Conference for Investigative Journalism (COLPIN). In addition to recognizing the award winners, the organizations also provided funding for new transnational investigations.

First place went to journalist María Luz Nóchez of Salvadoran digital site El Faro. She was honored for her investigation “Por qué queda impune el 90% de violaciones a menores? (Why are 90 percent of sexual assaults of minors unpunished?). In a video posted to IPYS’ Twitter account, the journalist said she was very emotional.

“Very honored to have received this award for a very hard job that reflects the reality in a country of girls that are constantly violated by sexism, misogyny of men who believe they can possess whatever woman they feel like,” she said.

Second place went to the report “El oficial que ordenó hacer filas en un periódico” (The officer who commanded the ranks at a newspaper) by Joseph Polizuk, Katherine Pennachio, Roberto Deniz and Patricia Marcano. The report was published by Armando.info in Venezuela.

Third place was a tie between Brazil and Panama. From Folha de S. Paulo, journalists Flávio Ferreira, Mario Cesar Carvalho and Rogério Pagnan were awarded for the investigation "Empreiteiras negociaram propina para abafar apuração de cratera do metrô" (Contractors negotiated bribe to bury subway crater investigation). From Panama’s La Prensa, Mary Triny Zea was recognized for the report” Dudosa Filantropía Desde La Asamblea Nacional” (Doubtful Philanthropy From the National Assembly).

The winners received cash prizes of US $10,000 for first place and US $5,000 for second and third place, through funding from Open Society Foundations.

Other publications also received honorable mentions from the jury, composed of journalists Lise Olsen, Giannina Segnini, Santiago O’Donell, Fernando Rodrigues and Ewald Scharfenberg. See the reports below:

  • Argentina- “Awada made in China” / Emilia Delfino, Diario Perfil
  • Brazil- “Dossier Rio 2016” / Lucio de Castro, Agencia Sportlight
  • Brazil- “¿Cuánto cuesta comprar un diputado?” (How much does it cost to buy a deputy?)/ Francisco Regueira, TV Globo
  • Colombia- “Restitución en el Cesar bajo presión” (Restitution in Cesar under pressure) / Ivonne Rodríguez, Tatiana Navarrete, Salomón Echevarría; Verdad Abierta
  • Nicaragua- “El fantástico proyecto del heredero presidencial” (The fantastic project of the presidential heir)/ Moisés Martínez, La Prensa
  • Paraguay- “El mecánico de oro” (The gold mechanic)/ Mabel Rehnfeldt, Diario ABC Color
  • Peru- “La vida tiene precio” (Life has a price)/ Fabiola Torres, Ojo Público and allied media
  • Dominican Republic- “El emporio no declarado del Zar del Metro” (The undeclared Emporium of the Metro Tsar)/ Alicia Ortega, Noticias SIN; Omaya Sosa, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo
  • Venezuela- “La revolución de las importaciones” (The import revolution)/ Roberto Deniz, Armando.info
  • Uruguay- “Las tarjetas del vicepresidente” (The vice-president’s cards) / Raúl Santopietro and Guilermo Drapper, Búsqueda

Through a Project Competition, two transnational research projects were funded on Sunday. Ginna Morelo, representative of El Tiempo  (Colombia) and Efecto Cocuyo (Venezuela), accepted for the project “Venezolanos a la fuga” (Venezuelans on the run). Ivonne Rodríguez González, a representative for Verdad Abierta (Colombia), Rutas del Conflicto (Colombia) and Ojo Público (Peru), is coordinating the report “Los Aquatenientes” (The owners of the Water). Each project received US $ 5,000 for their investigative reports.

The Latin American Prize was created in 2001 to promote the publication of relevant news events and to acknowledge works that deal with investigative themes on matters of public interest. The award receives 200 entries each year.

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.