San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Honduran journalist awarded prestigious prize

Honduran radio journalist Karla Rivas has been awarded the 2011 Peter Mackler Award for courageous and ethical journalism, press freedom group Reporters Without Borders announced Monday.

Rivas, 33, news editor for Honduras’ Radio Progreso, is to receive her award at a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington on October 20, 2011. She will be the first woman to receive the award.

She works for the Jesuit-run Radio Progreso, a general interest broadcaster that was raided by the Honduran military following the 2009 coup, and worked to challenge censorship and promote dialogue within the country during months of civil unrest there during and after the crisis.

“Rivas has shown enormous courage and integrity by asserting the right of the people of Honduras to receive fair, accurate news,” said Camille Mackler, Project Director for the award and daughter of AFP journalist Peter Mackler, the honor’s namesake.

“She has done so regardless of the danger she placed herself in. This selflessness and strong ethics are what the Peter Mackler Award rewards by naming Ms. Rivas this year’s winner.”

Jean-François Julliard, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders, said in a statement that Rivas’ recognition “constitutes both a symbol of the fight for the right to information, and a reminder to the international community of the tragedy Honduras has suffered since the coup on June 28th, 2009.”

The Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism was founded in June 2008 to honor the memory of Mackler, a Brooklyn, New York-born veteran reporter and editor who championed ethical journalism and freedom of expression.

Mackler, who played a key role in helping transform the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency into an international player in the world of journalism, died of a heart attack in June 2008 at the age of 58.

He also founded the Global Media Forum, which has helped to train journalists and non-profit organizations to use the media as a tool for social change, and Project Plato, which teaches journalism as a life skill to disadvantaged teenagers.

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