Maribel Gutierrez Moreno | 1997 Courage in Journalism Award
El Sur, Mexico.
Gutierrez co-founded El Sur, an independent newspaper that started running in May 1993. She worked as a reporter covering human rights and justice issues, and had encountered numerous pressure and harassment from the government from the beginning. El Sur had to be transformed from a daily to a weekly edition in April 1995 due to constant pressure of state officials, who used to threaten private companies that bought pages for advertisements, causing serious financial problems for the paper.
Her coverage followed social movements in the countryside of Guerrero, the state with the highest poverty rate in Mexico, and the political administrations in this region. Some guerrillas and rebel movements were born as a reaction to the poor living condition and to the government?s repression against different social and political organizations or just peasants and Indians.
In 1995, Gutierrez wrote a series of extensive and independent articles covering the massacre of 17 unarmed peasants on June 28. The paper’s coverage helped reveal the role of the government in the massacre and led to the resignation of Guerrero’s governor. Because of her reports, Gutierrez was blacklisted and threatened of death many times.
Since the beginning of 1995, Gutierrez also started working as a Guerrero-based correspondent for daily paper La Jornada, one of the young newspapers that tried to push for political change toward a more democratic and modern Mexico.
Gutierrez continued to work for El Sur, and wrote on the forced sterilization of indigenous people as a form of ethnic extermination, and on civil rights violations by the army.
Earlier in her career, she worked as a reporter for daily Unomasuno in Mexico city from 1984 to 1990. She worked for Filo Rojo, a magazine focusing on human rights issues from 1991 to 1992.
Gutierrez also wrote a book on violence in Guerrero. She said: “Even under adverse conditions, we must defend at every moment the right to information and freedom of expression.”
She graduated in Division of Political and Social Sciences, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Maribel Gutierrez Moreno is the first IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner from Mexico, followed by Lydia Cacho (2007) and Adela Navarro Bello (2011).