El Faro, an online digital newspaper covering countries in Central America since 1998, has won two human rights awards for its reporting in one of the most hazardous regions of the world for independent journalists.
News director and co-founder Carlos Dada, a 2005 Knight Fellow, recently accepted the 2012 Anna Politkovskaya Award for courageous investigative reporting and the 2012 WOLA Human Rights Award.
“The Russia that killed Anna Politkovskaya has increasingly common elements to Central America, including high levels of impunity and the power of criminal groups that have penetrated all institutions,” Dada said in accepting the award last month at the Internazionale a Ferrara Festival of journalism and current affairs in Italy. Politkovskaya was an outspoken, crusading Russian journalist who was assassinated in 2009.
“In our case, criminal organizations and drug cartels, arms traffickers and money launderers operate throughout the Central American corridor transporting drugs to the United States, having paid off purchasing officers, judges, prosecutors, military, government officials, mayors and deputies. These criminal groups represent the main threat today to our nascent democracy, peace and justice.”
Earlier this fall, in Washington D.C., El Faro was one of the recipients of The Washington Office on Latin America’s Human Rights Awards. The newspaper was honored for “investigative journalism that shines a spotlight on organized crime.” WOLA promotes human rights, democracy and social justice in Latin America.
Carlos Dada and Jorge Simán launched El Faro in El Salvador with a small group of journalists committed to reporting on subjects typically considered taboo – organized crime, violence, and political corruption – hoping to strengthen democracy and accountability in the country. El Faro is now a major force in Latin American with more than 100,000 readers weekly.