IFJ Colombia Director Wins Spanish Human Rights Journalism Prize

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today congratulated Eduardo Márquez González, the director of its Solidarity Centre in Colombia, who won the Julio Anguita Parrado International Prize for his defence of journalist work in Colombia.

The prize was started last year by the Union of Andalucían Journalists (SPA) to recognise the work of journalists who are protecting human rights. It will be awarded in Cordoba on April 7, the fifth anniversary of the death of Spanish journalist Julio Anguita Parrado, who worked for the daily newspaper El Mundo and was killed with German journalist Christian Liebig by an Iraqi missile south of Baghdad in 2003.

“We are thrilled that the prize has recognized the excellent work Eduardo has done to improve the lives of journalists in Colombia,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “Colombian journalists face many challenges but Eduardo and his colleagues have made huge strides in a short time and have started a national union and brought together journalists into a group where they can ban together to protect their rights.”

According to a study by the International News Safety Institute, between 1996 and 2006, 72 journalists were killed in Colombia, making it the third most dangerous country for media in that period after Iraq and Russia. In the last twenty years, 2,574 unionists have been murdered, including 72 in 2007 and 5 so far this year, according to the recent AFL-CIO mission to Colombia.

Márquez is the director of the IFJ’s Solidarity Centre (CESO-FIP) and President of the Colombian Federation of Journalists (FECOLPER), the country’s national journalists’ union which was launched in 2007.

In announcing their decision, the jury, made up of prominent Spanish journalists and university professors, recognised Márquez’s “defence of journalism work in one of the most difficult and dangerous countries to report the news.” The jury also recognised the work of all the courageous Colombian journalists who are risking their lives for their commitment to the profession.

In 2007, Iraqi journalist and activist Imán Ahmad Jamás won the prize.

Ceso-FIP opened its doors in 2000, through an IFJ project to improve the safety, social and working conditions of journalists in Colombia. The Centre provides humanitarian support to journalists and media workers and their families. It has also helped build union solidarity nationally and was instrumental in the formation of the FELCOPER last year. FELCOLPER, under the motto “National unity for free, responsible and safe journalism,” represents more than 1000 media workers in 18 departments in the country.

For more information on the prize in Spanish, go to the announcement from CESO-FIP and SPA.

For more information contact the IFJ at + 32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide