This month, Transparency International and the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (Press and Society Institute, IPYS) honoured investigative journalists from El Salvador, Venezuela, Brazil and Panama at the 15th edition of the Latin American Awards for Investigative Journalism for their brave work uncovering corruption and wrongdoing.
The winners covered topics as diverse as lack of follow up for sexual assault cases in El Salvador, and corruption in the military in Venezuela, in construction in Brazil and in philanthropy in Panama.
Transparency International has been a co-sponsor of the award since 2001.
“Investigative journalists are the brave and valued partners of anti-corruption activists. They help us hold the corrupt to account. We need to do all we can to support and protect their work,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International, in her opening remarks to the Latin American Conference of Investigative Journalism (COLPIN) in Buenos Aires.
The award seeks to recognise stand-out investigative reporting and provides funding for new cross-border investigations through the Transnational Research Projects Contest.
The winners are as follows:
María Luz Nóchez from El Faro in El Salvador won first prize for her investigation Por qué queda impune el 90% de violaciones a menores? (Why are 90 percent of sexual assaults of minors unpunished?).
Second place went to an investigation into systemic conflicts of interest in Venezuelan military spending, by the team at Armando.info: Joseph Poliszuk, Katherine Pennacchio, Patricia Marcano and Roberto Deniz.
Third prize was shared between two investigations: Empreiteiras negociaram propina para abafar apuração de cratera do metrô (Companies gave bribes to stop the investigation of the Metro crater), by journalists at Folha de São Paulo in Brazil, including Flávio Ferreira, Mario Carvalho and Rogério Pagnan; and Dudosa filantropía desde la Asamblea Nacional (Doubtful philanthropy from the National Assembly), by Mary Triny Zea from La Prensa in Panama.
The winners received cash prizes of US$10,000 for first place and US$5,000 for second and third place. The jury was made up of globally recognised investigative journalists Lise Olsen, Giannina Segnini, Santiago O’Donnell, Fernando Rodrigues and Ewald Scharfenberg.
The Transnational Research Projects also awarded financing to two cross-border journalistic initiatives: Venezolanos a la fuga (Venezuelans on the run), by El Tiempo, Colombia, and Efecto Cocuyo from Venezuela; and Los Acuatenientes (The Acutenants), by Verdad Abierta and Rutas del Conflicto from Colombia and Public Eye from Peru .
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