Nicaraguan journalist honoured as Congress opens

May 28, 2024 at 10:27 am by admin

WAN-Ifra’s World News Media Congress has opened in Copenhagen, with a new president, new board and a raft of awards including that of the Golden Pen of Freedom.

Ringier Media head Ladina Heimgartner – who is also chief executive of Ringier Media Switzerland – has been elected president of the association. The board was renewed and four new members elected to new supervisory board terms. (Ladina Heimgartner is pictured with past president Fernando de Yarza López-Madrazo, photo Mick Friis).

Heimgartner is joined on the new executive board by Agnes Kalekje Nguna (The Star, Kenya), Mariam Mammen Mathew (Manorama Online, India), Werner Zitzmann (AMI, Colombia), with vice president Stig Ørskov (JP/Politiken, Denmark), treasurer Paul Verwilt (Mediahuis, Belgium), Sandy Prieto-Romualdez (Inquirer Group, The Philippines) and Martha Ramos Sosa (OEM, Mexico).

The new supervisory board members are Noora Alanne (Medialiitto, Finland, and chair of WAN-Ifra’s Global Alliance for Media Innovation), Patricia Fonseca (Media Tejo, Portugal), Denis Pierrard (IPM Group, Belgium), and Werner Zitzmann (Colombia).

At their annual meeting in Copenhagen, the board passed key resolutions expressing strong support for independent media in Ukraine, condemning the killing of journalists in Gaza, and calling for greater accountability. They also highlighted the importance of professional media representative bodies and condemned Georgia’s ‘foreign influence’ law, urging its repeal and calling for international pressure on the Georgian government.

The board heard more than 80 new members had signed up to WAN-Ifra in 2023, “enabling it to consolidate member contributions at a stable level”. New media development contracts financed by European funds and the contribution of the Norwegian foreign affairs ministry to its Women in News programme will enable WAN-Ifra to confirm its role in international solidarity initiatives in support of the press.

This year’s Golden Pen of Freedom is awarded to Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Chamorro, editor-in-chief of Confidencial, currently in exile in Costa Rica. (Photo: Mick Friis)

Accepting the award, Chamorro praised colleagues and said he shared it with all independent journalists of Nicaragua, “whose resistance also in exile, represents the last reserve of freedom under a totalitarian dictatorship”.

He continues to run online investigative outlet Confidencial from exile in Costa Rica. World Editors Forum president Martha Ramos – who is editorial director of Mexico’s Organización Editorial Mexicana – said the award honoured “a journalist steeped in the fight for freedom, beset by tragedy, and who mirrors the rise and fall of the nation he has served for decades – one whose ongoing struggle and sacrifice reflects the hopes and ideals of millions for a better future.

“In polarised times, between political extremes, the victim has always been – and will remain – the press. Our laureate knows this all too well. His journey from politics to the top of the media has come full circle and is a deeply personal one, mirroring the highs and lows of the continent he calls home.”

Having launched some of the most successful news outlets in Nicaragua – the TV magazine Esta Semana in 1995, the Confidencial a year later, and the daily TV news show Esta Noche in 2005 –Chamorro was “a clear target”. His mother, Violeta Barrios, defeated Daniel Ortega to become president in 1990, while his father, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal, publisher of La Prensa, was assassinated in 1978.

He dedicated the award to “all Latin American journalists facing political persecution and imprisonment, such as Victor Ticay in Nicaragua; José Rubén Zamora in Guatemala; Mayelín Rodríguez in Cuba; and others who are seriously threatened such as Gustavo Gorriti in Peru; and the team of in Venezuela”.

Winners of the 2024 Digital Media Awards Worldwide have also been announced during the congress, which concludes tomorrow. More than 900 publishers, editors, journalists and senior news executives from 80 countries are attending.

Sections: Newsmedia industry


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