Washington -- Two
nongovernmental groups, Transparency International and the
Press and Society Institute, have announced they will award
$25,000 to the Latin American media outlet that publishes
the best investigative journalism report on corruption.
In addition, two $5,000 prizes will be awarded
for reports "specially worthy of recognition,"
the two groups said. Articles eligible for the prizes must
have been published between January 1 and December 31.
The fourth annual awards are designed to
raise awareness about "corrupt dealings in Latin American
countries," where high amounts of "dishonest practices
have been recorded in the state and private sectors,"
Transparency International said. In addition, the awards
are designed to promote investigative journalism.
Transparency International is part of a
global organization based in Berlin devoted to the fight
against corruption worldwide. The Press and Society Institute,
based in Lima, Peru, is a Latin American group of independent
A panel of five journalists will convene
in May 2006 to decide who wins the prizes. The panel consists
of Tina Rosenberg, a 1996 Pulitzer Prize winner and editorial
page editor for The New York Times; Michael Reid, Latin
American editor of The Economist; Marcelo Beraba, ombudsman
of Folha de Sao Paulo in Brazil; Gustavo Gorriti, co-director
of the daily La República in Peru; and Gerardo Reyes
of El Nuevo Herald in Miami, who was part of an investigative
team that won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize.
The deadline for submissions for the award
is February 28, 2006. More information about the awards
is available on the Transparency International Web site
Giannina Segnini, Ernesto Rivera and Mauricio
Herrera, from the Costa Rican daily La Nación, won
the $25,000 award in 2005. Those journalists wrote a series
of reports on illegal payments made by two European companies
to former Central American presidents.
Journalists from Brazil's TV Globo and the
Brazilian newspaper O Globo were the two runners-up for
the prize. (See related
The U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) says nothing does more to alienate citizens from
their political leaders and institutions and to undermine
stability and economic development than endemic corruption.
Adolfo Franco, USAID's assistant administrator
for Latin America and the Caribbean, says consolidation
of democracy cannot be achieved without attacking corruption,
which he describes as one of the most fundamental problems
that undermines a democratic system.
In a June 7 interview with the U.S. State
Department's Washington File, Franco said the fight against
corruption is unlikely to be effective without transparency,
the rule of law, prosecution of corrupt officials, and access
for everyone to a judicial system that is functioning well
and can render fair and impartial decisions. (See related
According to the State Department publication,
Transparency in Government -- How American Citizens Influence
Public Policy, the heart of democratic governance is the
ability of ordinary citizens to hold government officials
accountable for their actions. The publication
is available on the State Department Web site.
For information on U.S. policy in the region,
Washington File Staff Writer