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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Mexican journalist wins International Press Freedom Award from CPJ



Mexican journalist Patricia Mayorga, a correspondent for the magazine Proceso, was among the recipients of the 2017 International Press Freedom Award, presented Tuesday by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Patricia Mayorga. (Screengrab taken from Periodistas de a Pie video).

Mayorga’s reporting focuses on organized crime, corruption, disappearances and homicides in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, according to CPJ. She also covers discrimination and violence against indigenous communities and activists in the Sierra Tarahumara region. Mayorga was also one of the founding members of the Red Libre Periodismo, a network of reporters dedicated to providing professional support to journalists in Chihuahua with the aim of promoting the free practice of ethical journalism, according to its website.

Mayorga fled the state with CPJ assistance after Miroslava Breach, another Mexican journalist based in Chihuahua, was shot and killed outside her home in March. Mayorga feared for her life after receiving threatening messages, according to CPJ.

She participated in the #NoAlSilencio campaign through her personal Twitter account, calling on the Mexican government to put an end to the killing of journalists. She has also continually denounced impunity now that almost four months have passed without anyone being arrested for Breach’s murder. “Your absence hurts, a lot, but we won’t allow your voice to be silenced,” Mayorga tweeted.

In a video published by Periodistas de a Pie last month, Mayorga read a written statement decrying the worsening situation in Chihuahua and called the state “one of the most dangerous places to practice journalism.”

“We as journalists are stating that we will continue to do our reporting with the intention of fulfilling our duty to inform society. Because you can’t kill the truth by killing journalists,” Mayorga said in the video. “Like our colleagues throughout the country, we assume the risk that comes with practicing journalism, but we do not assume the impunity nor the corruption that have worsened that risk.”

CPJ has counted four journalists murdered in Mexico this year for reasons directly related to their work. The organization is also investigating the motive behind the killing of two other journalists and the disappearance of another.

Other recipients of the International Press Freedom Award 2017 were Cameroonian journalist Ahmed Abba, Thai journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk and Yemeni reporter and blogger Afrah Nasser. “The journalists have faced government harassment, death threats, or imprisonment in their pursuit of the truth,” CPJ wrote in its official press release.

“Journalists around the world face growing threats and pressure,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in the press release. “Those we honor are the most courageous and committed. They stand as an example that journalism matters.”

CPJ will also present its inaugural Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award to Judy Woodruff, managing editor of “PBS Newshour.”

All of the winners will be honored at CPJ’s annual award dinner on November 15 in New York City.



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