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Mexican Reporter Scoops UN Press Freedom Prize

Mexican investigative reporter scoops UN press freedom prize

9 April 2008 - A Mexican reporter who has been a target of death threats, sabotage and police harassment because of her work uncovering prostitution and child pornography networks was today designated the laureate of a press freedom prize by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, will award the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to Lydia Cacho Ribeiro in a ceremony to be held on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, in Maputo, Mozambique.

A freelance reporter based in Cancun, Mexico Ms. Cacho is a contributor to the daily newspaper La Voz del Caribe, frequently covering organized crime and corruption. In 2006, she reported on the violent death of hundreds of young women in the northern Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez.

The jury of 14 professional journalists and editors from all over the world was impressed by Ms. Cacho's courage and persistence, according to Joe Thloloe, jury president and Press Ombudsman of the Press Council of South Africa.

"For me, a journalist who knows the antagonistic environment in which he or she operates and continues to do the right thing by keeping readers, listeners or viewers informed about their society deserves recognition for their contribution to freedom of expression around the world," Mr. Thloloe said. "Lydia Cacho is such a laureate."

The $25,000 prize, financed by the Cano and Ottaway family foundations, is named after Guillermo Cano, the Colombian newspaper publisher assassinated in 1987 for denouncing the activities of powerful drug barons in his country.

The prize has previously been received by the following laureates: Anna Politkovskaya (Russian Federation, 2007), May Chidiac (Lebanon, 2006), Cheng Yizhong, (China, 2005), Raúl Rivero (Cuba, 2004), Amira Hass (Israel, 2003), Geoffrey Nyarota (Zimbabwe, 2002), U Win Tin (Myanmar, 2001), Nizar Nayyouf (Syria, 2000), Jesus Blancornelas (Mexico, 1999), Christina Anyanwu (Nigeria, 1998), and Gao Yu (China, 1997).


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