Honduran journalist Karla Rivas named 2011 winner of Peter Mackler Award
Karla Rivas works for Radio Progreso, a Jesuit-run radio station covering current events, sports, and arts news. Despite being one of the first victims of raids by the military after the 2009 coup, Radio Progreso continues to challenge censorship and to promote dialogue within Honduran society. Its leader, Father Ismael Moreno, was one of approximately 10 journalists the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights instructed the new Honduran government to protect, an injunction the regime continues to ignore. Karla Rivas became a vocal opponent of the military tactics and continues to defend Radio Progreso's right to broadcast uncensored information. Camille Mackler, Project Director for the Peter Mackler Award, said that "Ms. Rivas has shown enormous courage and integrity by asserting the right of the People of Honduras to receive fair, accurate news. She has done so regardless of the danger she placed herself in. This selflessness and strong ethics are what the Peter Mackler Award rewards by naming Ms. Rivas this year's winner."
Jean-François Julliard, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders, stated that Ms. Rivas' recognition "constitutes both a symbol of the fight for the right to information, and a reminder to the international community of the tragedy Honduras has suffered since the coup on June 28th, 2009. Radio Progreso's efforts to inform the public about the state of human rights since that day is rewarded today. The driving force for dialogue within an extremely polarized society, Radio Progreso continues to take on, with courage, its journalistic and educational role, despite threats and persecution. If the station is over a half-century old, its young journalists and announcers embody both the future of a profession and the hope of a country." Reporters Without Borders ranked Honduras 143rd out of 175 countries in their 2010 Press Freedom Index, down from 128th the previous year.
The Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism was founded in June 2008 to honor the memory of Peter Mackler, a Brooklyn-born thirty-five year veteran journalist who championed ethical journalism and freedom of expression. Mackler helped transform the news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) into the international competitor that it is today. Mackler also founded the Global Media Forum, which has helped to train journalists and non-profit organizations to use the media as a tool for social change, and Project Plato, which teaches journalism as a life skill to disadvantaged teenagers.
The Peter Mackler award rewards journalists who fight courageously and ethically to report the news in countries where freedom of the press is either not guaranteed or not recognized. The Award is administered jointly by Global Media Forum and Reporters Without Borders. The Award ceremony will take place on October 20, 2011 at 6 p.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, 529 14th St. N.W, 13th Fl.; Washington, DC 20045. The ceremony will be followed by a reception. There will be a silent auction.