15 August 2000



MIAMI, Florida (August 15)- The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) announced today that it is awarding its 2000 Grand Prize for Press Freedom to the Colombian Media for its courageous and professional role during the current moments of violence, intimidation and general crisis the country is undergoing.

The IAPA announced that it would be asking the National Association of Newspapers (ANDIARIOS) of that country to receive the 2000 Grand Prize for Press Freedom on behalf of the Colombian media during its 56th General Assembly in Santiago, Chile, October 13 -18.

The Colombian media was recently threatened by the largest group of guerrillas (FARC), which was protested by the IAPA in June calling the threats and comments by the FARC "a total disregard for freedom of the press".

Colombian media has been under fire not only by the insurgency but also by organized crime for several years. According to IAPA official sources, there have been 6 murders of Colombian journalists since October of last year for a total of 89 murdered journalists since 1989. Many journalists in Colombia have been kidnapped or forced to exile in the past year.

The IAPA Awards Committee, chaired by Saturnino Herrero Mitjans of the Buenos Aires, Argentina, daily Clarín, selected winning entries in the annual contest for excellence in journalism in a total of 10 categories. Each award consists of a cash prize of $2,000 and a plaque or diploma.

"The quality of the work submitted this year was truly unprecedented, " said Herrero. "The level of reporting was very high and we are thrilled with the winning entries for the professionalism and the impact in their respective communities."

Following are the categories and the winners:

Inter-American Relations Award, sponsored by La Prensa, Managua, Nicaragua: to Francisco Robles, La Opinión, Los Angeles, California, for his story painstaking coverage dealing with Mexican emigration to the United States.

Human Rights and Community Service Award, sponsored by Panama-America, Panama City, Panama; El Comercio, Lima, Peru; Organización Publicitaria S.A., San Pedro Sula, Honduras; and La Nación, Buenos Aires, Argentina: to Mario Maghalães and Lilian Christofoletti, Folha de S. Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil for the story of an investigation into torture at police precincts.
Honorable Mention to Ciro Alquirichire, Vanguardia Liberal, Bucaramanga, Colombia for the piece describes the hatred of the children of FARC guerrillas and those of paramilitary elements, suggesting that this hatred and resentment is fuel enough for the conflict to keep going on. Also, to David Talbot, Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts, for the story on the once- pristine rain forest of Ecuador and a class action suit alleging that Texaco Inc.s oil exploration there has a left a legacy of disease and environmental damage on a colossal scale.

The Newspaper in Education Award, sponsored by Hoy, Quito, Ecuador and Novedades de Quintana Roo, Cancun, Mexico: to the staff of the San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas, for their series of publications evidencing ideas that stimulate or contribute to education by publishing current affairs for school use and curriculum.

Opinion Award, sponsored by El Mercurio, Santiago, Chile: to Barbara Renau Gonzalez, San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas for her insightful columns on a variety of topics triggering community debate.
Honorable Mention to Cristiana Chamorro, La Prensa, Managua, Nicaragua, for her 12-part series of opinion on current political issues.

News Coverage Award, sponsored by El Nacional, Caracas, Venezuela, and O Estado de S. Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil: to various writers of the La Crónica de Baja California, Mexicali, Mexico, for a series on whether a dog should be put to death for killing a thief whose coverage saves the life of the animal.
Honorable Mention to Gabriel Trillos and Hector Silva of La Prensa Gráfica, of San Salvador, El Salvador for an article on a bus crash in which many people were killed with excellent photo coverage.

In-Depth Reporting Award, sponsored by The Miami Herald, Miami, Florida, and The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada: to Antonio Oeni, El Tribuno, Salta, Argentina, for an article on the danger to human lives of landmines laid by the Argentine and Chilean governments during the Beagle Channel conflict between the two countries which has been neglected by both governments. Also, to Joao Antonio Barros, O Dia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for an investigation into widespread corruption in the Brazilian penal system, and to Willy Stern, Nashville Scene, Nashville, Tennessee, for an investigative series on a private security firm that committed abuses and illegal acts against Hispanics in an apartment complex that led to a police scandal and a major FBI probe.
Honorable Mention to Maria Salazar Aganza and Norman Navarro, of El Imparcial de Hermosillo, Hermosillo, Mexico for her article on a minor convicted for a murder with a light sentence and due to the investigative work by the journalist and the new incriminating evidence, the case is reopened and the minor convict is in jail again; and jointly to Mario Magalhes, Ari Cipola and Paulo Peixoto, of Folha de S. Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil for an investigation into the death of the former president Fernando Collor de Melos campaign treasurer that led to open a new investigation; and jointly to Tracy Weber, James F. Smith, H.G. Reza and Julie Marquis of The Los Angeles Times, for a sensational investigative series on the use of medications prohibited in the U.S. and sold in Mexico City and the utilization of unlicensed medical providers by immigrants.

Feature Writing Award, sponsored by El Comercio, Quito, Ecuador and McClatchy Newspapers, Sacramento, California: to Sergio Carreras, of La Voz del Interior, Cordoba, Argentina for his piece on Bolivian immigration to Argentina; also to Ariadne Araujo, of O Povo, Fortaleza, Brazil for a special feature marking the 90th birthday of a popular poet; and to Anne Hull, of St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Florida for the series on the plight of Mexican immigrant women entering and living in the U.S.
Honorable Mention to Luis Cañon, of El Espectador, Bogotá, Colombia for the reenactment of a kidnapping of a senator; also to Peter Fritsch and Matt Moffett, of The Wall Street Journal, New York for the series of articles on a variety of topics regarding Brazil.

Photography Award sponsored by El País, Montevideo, Uruguay, and ABC Color, Asuncion, Paraguay: to Don Barletti, of Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, for his series of photos on the Latin American criminal justice system.
Honorable Mention to Nury Vallbona, of The Miami Herald, Miami, Florida for the photos of the arrival of Cuban rafters and their confrontation with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Cartoon Award sponsored by El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia: to Jose Loaiza, of El Nacional, Caracas, Venezuela, for his political satires.
Honorable Mention to Pancho Cajas, of El Comercio, Quito, Ecuador, for his cartoons on national and international news.

Infographics Award sponsored by Clarín, Buenos Aires, Argentina: to Xabier Diaz de Cerio, of El Comercio, Lima, Peru.
Honorable Mention to Mark Blackell and Robert Zavala, of the San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas.

The judges for the 2000 IAPA Awards for Excellence in Journalism in addition to Herrero were: Robert Rivard, San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas; Eduardo Urueña, El Popular, Toronto, Canada; Laurence ODonnell, The Wall Street Journal, New York; J. Gerardo Lopez, La Opinión, Los Angeles, California; André Luis Jungblut, Gazeta do Sul, Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil; Carlos Besanson, Diario del Viajero, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Michael McGuire, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois; Gerardo García Gamboa, Novedades de Mérida, Mérida, Mexico; Francisco Montes, El Diario de Cuyo,Cuyo , Argentina; and Francisco Fascetto, El Día, La Plata, Argentina. They were assisted by Elizabeth Tuma de Besanson, Diario del Viajero, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Roberto Fernández, Clarín, Buenos Aires, Argentina