Winning stories revealed illicit enrichment and drug trafficking
Two series of investigative articles exposing illicit enrichment and drug trafficking in Paraguay and Peru, are the winners of the 2007 Award for Best Investigative Journalism Report on Corruption, granted yearly by Transparency International for Latin America and the Caribbean (TILAC) and the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS). The first prize of US $25,000 is shared by Mabel Rehnfeldt from Paraguayan daily ABC Color and Américo Zambrano, from Peruvian newsmagazine Caretas. Both obtained first prize among 170 entries from 16 countries.
“Exposing corruption in Latin America is sometimes the only way to hold the powerful to account. This year’s winning entries show how good journalism can lead to justice and why corruption matters for the daily lives of people throughout the region,” said Marta Erquicia of Transparency International.
Through a detailed investigation, Mabel Rehnfeldt proved that the director of the world’s largest dam – the bi-national hydroelectric dam of Itaipú - abused his authority as a public official to engage in self enrichment.
The series of articles by Américo Zambrano uncovered strong links between drug trafficking and the Sánchez Paredes family in Peru as well as the family’s powerful influence on the political sphere and the judiciary. Zambrano’s stories led to a police investigation of 77 clan members and 120 family-owned companies for laundering drug trafficking proceeds.
“This year’s entries for the award reflect a great improvement in terms of the quality of journalistic investigation on corruption in the region,” said Ricardo Uceda, Executive Director of IPYS. “Carrying out this kind of journalism is not easy and we continue to be engaged in supporting those journalists that play an exceptional role in society.”
The jury also awarded second prizes of US$ 5,000 each to Luis Murcia, from Colombian daily El País, for unveiling corruption related to the management of the Mayor of Cartago; and to a group of journalists from Brazilian daily O Globo who documented the terror to which nearly 1.5 million slum residents in Rio de Janeiro are subjected to by drug trafficking, militias and corruption in the police. The O Globo team was made up of Carla Rocha, Dimmi Amora, Fábio Vasconcellos, Sérgio Ramalho, Paulo Motta and Angelina Nunes.
Thirteen additional articles from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela received a special mention.
The yearly IPYS/TILAC award honours the best investigative journalism stories dealing with corruption published in Latin America and the Caribbean. The award is sponsored by the Open Society Institute. The recognition goes to journalists who, through their investigations, show the effects of corruption and raise awareness about its effects on society. The permanent jury is made up of: Tina Rosenberg (The New York Times), Mike Reid (The Economist), Marcelo Beraba (Folha de S. Paulo), Gustavo Gorriti (Caretas) and Gerardo Reyes (El Nuevo Herald).
Download the jury’s statement in English.
Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
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