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BRAZILIAN AND COLOMBIAN REPORTERS WIN FIRST PRIZE FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM IN LATIN AMERICA

Articles that exposed political corruption in Brazil and the infiltration of the paramilitaries in Colombia's government tied for first prize for Best Investigative Journalism Report on Corruption 2006, the US$25,000 annual award from IFEX member Institute for Press and Society (Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, IPYS) and Transparency International For Latin America and the Caribbean (TILAC).

The award will be shared by journalists from the Brazilian daily "Correio Braziliense" and Colombian newsmagazine "Semana", who tied for first out of 175 entries from 18 countries.

Lúcio Vaz from "Correio Braziliense" exposed one of the largest parliamentary corruption cases in Brazil's history: the use of state funds to buy ambulances at inflated prices. The ambulance scandal allegedly involved 70 congressmen, dubbed the "sanguessugas" ("bloodsuckers"), who approved the buying of the ambulances and then accepted kickbacks that amounted to millions of dollars.

Eleven journalists from "Semana" also won first prize for their series of articles about "parapolitics", the phenomenon of paramilitaries worming their way into national politics by using election strategies to guarantee the victory of certain, paramilitary-friendly politicians.

For more details, including of other prize winners, see:
- English: http://tinyurl.com/2ahem9
- Spanish: http://tinyurl.com/27suy6
(3 July 2007)

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