The Inter American Press Association presented the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press with its 2019 Chapultepec Grand Prize at the IAPA’s mid-year meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, on March 30. Reporters Committee Executive Director Bruce Brown accepted the award, given in recognition of the Reporters Committee’s work to promote and defend the news media’s right to exercise press freedom without restriction.
The Award coincides with the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Declaration of Chapultepec, which enshrines the principles of press freedom that should rule in a democratic society.
“The Reporters Committee’s work strengthening laws on protection of sources, improving access to public information, and submitting amicus briefs before courts and tribunals is a model to follow for how other organizations should defend and promote press freedom,” said María Elvira Domínguez, president of the IAPA.
“We are extremely honored to receive this year’s Chapultepec Grand Prize from our partners at the Inter American Press Association,” said Brown. “As the Reporters Committee approaches our 50th anniversary, we remain steadfast in our commitment to defending against the legal challenges and intimidation journalists face as they work to shine a light on important issues, inform the public, and hold those in positions of power accountable. The United States has historically been a beacon for press freedom, and we hope that the impact of our work to fight for the First Amendment and newsgathering rights of journalists also reverberates abroad.”
The Chapultepec Grand Prize is the IAPA’s principal distinction given annually to individuals or organizations for their defense and promotion of freedom of expression and of the press. Past winners include Arthur O. Sulzberger Sr., Alberto Ibargüen, Anthony Lewis, and the Newseum.
Upon accepting the award in Cartagena, Brown highlighted the challenging environment for media freedom advocates in the U.S. and the Reporters Committee’s efforts both in and out of the courtroom to protect press freedom and strengthen support for it among political leaders and the public.
“The U.S., we have learned, is subject to the same vulnerabilities as other societies — strongman antics, politicians who demean the freedoms we in the media represent, a creeping authoritarianism that is all too appealing to some of our fellow citizens,” said Brown. “The projects we have taken on at the Reporters Committee with the IAPA, including the mission to Washington we coordinated with you last year, have been among our most important initiatives.
“This shared work among our friends in the Americas has illuminated for us the ways in which we are all in this together. In this sense, there is no better time than now, 25 years after its promulgation, to return to the Declaration of Chapultepec to reaffirm its principles.”