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MEXICAN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER WINS UNESCO PRESS FREEDOM PRIZE

A Mexican reporter who has been the target of death threats, sabotage, defamation suits and police harassment because of her work uncovering prostitution and child pornography networks is this year's winner of the prestigious Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, awarded by UNESCO.

Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, a freelance reporter based in Cancun, Mexico, frequently covers organised crime and corruption for the daily newspaper "La Voz del Caribe".

In 2006, Cacho reported on the violent death of hundreds of young women in the northern Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez. She was arrested for libel in December 2005 for "The Devils of Eden", her book on child pornography among Mexican politicians and businessmen. The charges were later dropped. This month, authorities of the state of Puebla tried to stop the public launch of Cacho's latest book, "Memorias de una Infamia" (Memoirs of a Scandal), her account of the various attacks and threats against her after "Devils" was published.

"A journalist who knows the antagonistic environment in which he or she operates and continues to do the right thing by keeping readers, listeners or viewers informed about their society deserves recognition for their contribution to freedom of expression around the world," said jury president Joe Thloloe, Press Ombudsman of the Press Council of South Africa. "Lydia Cacho is such a laureate."

The US$25,000 award is named after a Colombian journalist murdered in 1986 after denouncing powerful drug barons in his country. Cacho will be presented the prize in a ceremony on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, in Maputo, Mozambique. This year's theme is media freedom and access to information.

Visit these links:
- UNESCO on Cacho: http://tinyurl.com/5r68xz
- UNESCO World Press Freedom Day 2008: http://tinyurl.com/4sn54x
(15 April 2008)

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