Tegucigalpa – May 25, 2016 – PEN Canada and PEN Honduras awarded the 2016 Escribir sin Miedo prize to journalist Ariel Torres Funes for the report El Tumbador: una prisión verde de impunidad (El Tumbador: a green prison of impunity), which was compiled with the support of Claudia Sevilla Ardon, Bricelda Contreras Torres and Dany Barrientos.
Funes was out of the country, so his father, the journalist Manuel Torres, accepted the winner’s plaque and US$1,500 prize and read a speech on his behalf. PEN also awarded honorable mentions to Katia Lara, for the documentary Margarita Murillo, and to work submitted by documentarian and photojournalist Delmer Membreño.
PEN Canada and PEN Honduras established the Escribir sin Miedo award in 2015 to recognize the courage of journalists who work in a climate of violence and impunity, and to foster a culture of investigative public interest journalism.
The jury for the 2016 prize consisted of Rosa Morazán (journalist and university teacher); Divine Alvarenga (journalist, writer, and university professor) and Yanina Romero (journalist and consultant), and the Costa Rican Allan Barboza (photojournalist and documentary filmmaker) and London’s Nina Lakhani (researcher and journalist for The Guardian and The Independent). Alvarenga, and Morazán were present at the head table for the presentation ceremony to award the prize.
The jury assessed more than a dozen submissions and judged them according to technical and ethical criteria, including their contribution to freedoms of speech and the press, and citizens’ right to access information.
In 2015 the prize was awarded to documentary filmmaker Fred Alvarado for his essay “Honduras: the process of American remilitarization and the failure of the war on drugs”, with honourable mentions for Claudia Mendoza and Wendy Funes.
Alvarado participated via Skype in this year’s ceremony, and talked about his experience since receiving the award, including the opportunity to speak with Canadian journalists about the precarious state of freedom of expression in Honduras.