Miami (March 29, 2022) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) announced the awarding of the 2022 Chapultepec Grand Prize to the Colombian organization Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa (FLIP) for its "professional, tireless and courageous work in favor of freedom of expression and press freedom in Colombia.".
FLIP was created in 1996. Among its activities, the foundation monitors aggression cases against media and communicators; it provides urgent support to journalists in danger and warns about risk factors for the profession.
IAPA President Jorge Canahuati said, "Our Executive Committee had an easy task to choose FLIP by consensus for its extraordinary work in Colombia." Canahuati, executive president of Grupo Opsa, of Honduras, added, "FLIP is a guarantor and regent of press freedom, a solid support of Colombian society, whose efficient work methodology is studied and emulated by other organizations worldwide."
The award will be presented to Jonathan Bock, FLIP's executive director, in a virtual ceremony on April 19, in the framework of the IAPA's Mid-Year meeting that will run until April 21.
Carlos Jornet, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, added, "We recognize the titanic battles that FLIP has waged, including the support for journalist Jineth Bedoya before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. However, we also know of other fights that did not have the same media impact, but that equally served to alleviate the suffering of journalists and their families."
"We applaud their work during the hard times of violence against journalists in the 1990s and how, since then, they have rejuvenated their objectives and lines of action," said Jornet, editor of La Voz del Interior newspaper in Argentina.
Jonathan Bock said, "this is an important recognition by the IAPA is fundamental for the defense of the press in Colombia. We hope it will stimulate and strengthen the work of journalists, media, and organizations throughout the region. The wave of repression against the press throughout the continent is evident; it is fueled by authoritarian leaders who seek to delegitimize the work of journalists in the eyes of public opinion. At this juncture, the work of civil society organizations and defenders of freedom of expression must be strengthened."
FLIP has joined IAPA as a representative in work against impunity before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights through its legal department. It is a co-petitioner in the cases of Guillermo Cano, murdered in 1986, and Julio Daniel Chaparro and Jorge Torres, murdered in 1991, presented by IAPA before the IACHR.
FLIP has published reports on the use of official advertising as a tool of censorship and the behavior of digital media during the national strike of 2021 and built a mapping of information, which showed that more than 60% of Colombia's municipalities are information deserts, with no local information media.
Together with the Center for Justice and International Law, FLIP represented Colombian journalist Jineth Bedoya before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) for being a victim of kidnapping, torture, and sexual violence in 2000. In 2021, the IACHR Court issued a landmark judgment condemning the Colombian State. In addition, both organizations received the 2022 Global Freedom of Expression Award for Excellence in Legal Services from Columbia University, New York, recognizing their collaborative work in the Jineth Bedoya v. Colombia case.
The IAPA's Chapultepec Subcommittee chairman, Armando Castilla, highlighted "FLIP's professional, tireless and courageous work on behalf of freedom of expression and freedom of the press."
Castilla, the editor of the Saltillo, Mexico, newspaper Vanguardia, recalled that the IAPA has been awarding this prize since 1998 to highlight individuals and institutions that defend and promote the values of the Declaration of Chapultepec.
Previous recipients of this award are: Martin Baron, former executive editor of The Washington Post, USA; Edison Lanza, former Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, USA; the Newseum, USA; Gregorio Badeni, constitutional lawyer, Argentina; Alberto Ibargüen, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, USA; Catalina Botero, former Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR; Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president and writer, Brazil; Enrique Krauze, writer, historian and journalist, Mexico; Mario Vargas Llosa, 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature, Peru; José Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, USA; Asdrúbal Aguiar, lawyer, academic and former judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Venezuela; the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Argentina; the World Bank; the Inter-American Court of Human Rights; Santiago Cantón, former executive secretary of the IACHR; Anthony Lewis, writer and former columnist for The New York Times; Claudio Grossman, former president of the IACHR; Jorge Santistevan, former Ombudsman, Peru; Dana Bullen, former executive director of the World Committee for Press Freedom; Arthur O. Sulzberger, President Emeritus of The New York Times and Federico Mayor Zaragoza, former Director General of UNESCO.
IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States