Anabel Hernández, a Mexican investigative journalist who has put her own life at risk by exposing close ties between the powerful drug cartels and government and business, has won the 2012 Golden Pen of Freedom award.
In accepting the annual press freedom prize on Monday from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) in Kiev, Ukraine, Ms. Hernandez called upon the international community to help in the fight against the “slaughter of journalists and freedom of expression in Mexico.”
“It’s true, as Mexicans we are responsible for our own disgrace, but I hope that the international community will not continue to be indolent before the empire of the Mexican drug state, which will not be resolved by the end of the administration of [President] Felipe Calderon,” she said in her speech.
“To live in silence with regard to how corruption, crime and impunity continue to empower themselves in my country is also to die,” she said about her determination to continue investigating links between organized crime and high-ranking authorities.
WIN-INFRA represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and more than 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. The group said 44 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2006, and five this year alone.
Ms. Hernandez said a price was put on her head after the 2010 publication of her book The Drug Lords.
“I continue to denounce the decay of Mexico and the collusion of politicians, public servants and high-level businessmen with Mexican drug cartels,” she said in her address. “Today Mexican society is in need of brave and honest journalists who are ready to fight,” she said in her address, “and I believe that the international community and world media share this responsibility to deeply consider the reality of the situation in Mexico and assist us in achieving our goals.”
Ms. Hernandez, who has worked for several Mexican dailies, has said she was driven to aggressive investigative journalism after the kidnapping and murder of her father in 2000. Police said they would investigate only if the family paid them, she said, but the family refused, believing that the police might charge anyone just to get the payment.