By Ingrid Bachmann
Columnist and satirist Laureano Márquez won the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) for his independent commentary while under constant harassment from the government of President Hugo Chávez.
Márquez – from Venezuela – and three other journalists – from Ethiopia, Russia, and Iran – were honored for their courageous reporting in the face of censorship and “exposing uncomfortable truths, even at personal risk,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon at the ceremony.
The Venezuelan reporter writes satirical editorials for the opposition newspaper Tal Cual and has been punished by the authorities for his columns, the Associated Press explains. In 2007, he was fined for publishing a spoof letter to Chávez’s then 9-year-old daughter, and earlier this year he was accused of inviting a “genocidal, terrorist coup” for a column describing a Venezuela without Chávez.
At the ceremony, Márquez called humor “one of the resources that societies have used historically to confront arbitrariness and authoritarianism,” EFE adds.
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.