#Colpin2017: Latin America’s Best Investigative Projects

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From November 2 to 5, around 300 journalists and students from Latin America gathered at the FOPEA International Congress of Journalism and the Latin American Conference of Investigative Journalism (COLPIN) at the University of Palermo, in Buenos Aires, to talk about journalism and new ways of doing research in a collaborative, interdisciplinary and, in some cases, transnational way.

On Saturday came the big awards: the annual Latin American Prize for Investigative Journalism. The awards are given with support from the Lima-based Institute for Press and Society (IPYS) and Transparency International for Latin America and the Caribbean (TILAC). The jury included Lise Olsen, Giannina Segnini, Santiago O’Donnell, Fernando Rodrigues and Ewald Scharfenberg. Here’s a look at Latin America’s best muckraking over the past year:

The Winners

First Place

Why Do 90% of Child Rapes Go Unpunished?”
Mary Luz Nóchez, El Faro (El Salvador)

“An exemplary work that contains all the evidence, documents, statistics, chronicles and answers from judges and other authorities to demonstrate exactly how impunity in El Salvador is victimizing, once again, girls aged 10 to 14 years of age who denounce thier rapists, because justice ruled against them despite having conclusive evidence about the crime, case after case.”

Second Place

Military Outsourcing”
Joseph Poliszuk, Katherine Pennacchio, Patricia Marcano and Roberto Deniz, Armando.info (Venezuela)

“A methodical work of databases that, overcoming the obstacles for access to public information, made it possible to verify that the military component is not only central, in political terms, for the Bolivarian regime in Venezuela, but that a substantial part of the state suppliers are military personnel dressed in civilian clothes.”

Third Place (Shared)

“Doubtful Philanthropy from the Assembly”
Mary Triny Zea, La Prensa (Panama)

“This is a thorough and exhaustive database, verified through field reporting, which was able to determine that donations and aid in small amounts and labor contracts granted by the deputies of the Congress of Panama, were actually part of a massive fraud of public funds”.

Third Place (Shared)

“Companies Gave Bribes to Stop the Investigation of the Metro Crater”
Flávio Ferreira, Mario Carvalho, Rogério Pagnan, Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil)

“This report rescued the old case of an accident in the Sao Paulo subway that killed seven people and had fallen into oblivion both of justice and the press, and that the sagacity of journalists connected (it to) a current scandal.”

During the ceremony, two journalistic teams participating in the Transnational Research Projects Competition were also awarded with funding. The jury was integrated by Mabel Rehnfeldt, Ignacio Rodríguez Reyna and Daniel Santoro, the award was US $5,000.

Financed Projects

“Venezuelans on the Run”
Ginna Morello
The Time and Cocuyo Effect

“The Acutenants”
Ivonne Rodríguez
Open Truth, Conflict Routes and Public Eye


Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), host of the annual Latin America Investigative Journalism Conference (COLPIN), is a member of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, as is its co-host, Argentina’s Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA). 

Erika Lozano is GIJN’s Spanish editor. Based in Mexico City, she also works with the nonprofit Quinto Elemento Lab to strengthen investigative journalism networks in Mexico. She is co-founder of masde131.com, an independent media group specializing in coverage of human rights and social movements.

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