Threatened Colombian journalist wins Human Rights Watch award

Colombian Carina Solano Padilla received the Hellman/Hammett grant, from the organization Human Rights Watch, for journalists and writers who have faced political persecution, reported the news agency DPA.

According to Human Rights Watch, Solano is a freelance Colombian journalist who after reporting in 2006 on the demobilization of the paramilitary and other armed groups looking to receive amnesty, began to receive death threats. Her situation worsened when in 2008 she reported on a mayoral candidate who had been part of the demobilization.

Solano is the only Latin American listed among the 42 grant recipients, among whom are six Chinese, six Vietnamese and two Iranian writers. Not all of the grant winners' names were announced for reasons of security.

"The Hellman/Hammett grants aim to help writers who dare to express ideas that criticize official public policy or people in power," said Marcia Allina, Hellman/Hammett grant coordinator. "Many of the writers share a common purpose with Human Rights Watch: to protect the human rights of vulnerable people by shining a light on abuses and building public pressure to promote lasting, positive change."

In the past 21 years, more than 700 writers and journalists have received the award of up to $10,000.

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.

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