2008 - Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, Mexico

© José Gallardo/Random House

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, designated Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, a freelance reporter based in Cancun, Mexico, as the laureate of the 2008 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, on the basis of the recommendation of the international jury of the Prize.../fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/WPFP/wpfp2008_lydia_cacho_ribeiro_es.pdf

Joe Thloloe, President of the jury of 14 professional journalists and editors from all over the world, and Press Ombudsman of the Press Council of South Africa, explained the choice of this year’s laureate: 

“Members of the jury were impressed by the courage of Lydia Cacho Ribeiro as she continues to expose political corruption, organized crime and domestic violence in the face of death threats, an attempt on her life and legal battles. 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. Lydia Cacho is such a laureate.” 

The Director-General handed over the Prize to Ms Cacho in a ceremony to be held on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, in Maputo. This year, UNESCO was marking the Day in the capital of Mozambique, where it was also host a conference on access to information. 

Born in 1963, Ms Cacho is a contributor to the daily newspaper La Voz del Caribe. Through investigative journalism, she uncovered the involvement of businessmen, politicians and drug traffickers in prostitution and child pornography. In 2006, Ms Cacho reported on the violent death of hundreds of young women in the northern Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez. 

Ms Cacho has been the target of repeated death threats because of her work. Her car has been sabotaged and she has been the victim of police harassment. In 2006, she was awarded the Francisco Ojeda Award for journalistic courage and in 2007 the Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award for Women and Children’s Rights. 

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