Blanca Rosales Valencia | 1998 Courage in Journalism Award
La Republica, Peru
Since reporting her belief that the Peruvian Secret Service was behind her kidnapping, Rosales had been declared a threat to national security and had been the target of a national television campaign to discredit her. She had suffered from panic attacks and works under the protection of two bodyguards.
As editor-in-chief of La Republica, a large daily newspaper in Peru, Rosales published stories regarding government corruption and abuse of power by the military, which targeted her as a threat to national security. In one frightening moment in 1997, she was kidnapped, held at gunpoint, threatened with rape and death by her captors.
She received numerous intimidating phone calls, one of which with a male voice saying:”You will die. Your house will explode. We do not have compassion, enemy of the country, communist agent. Get out of Peru.”
She was an energetic person who had always fought for equality, justice and press freedom. She was a labor union defender when she was young, and her ideals took her to study in Russia and England. She left her first career as a lawyer and became a journalist because she felt it had more room for her to pursue these ideals. She was optimistic that press freedom would help to reinstate a full democracy in Peru.
Shortly after receiving the Courage Award, but in January 2000 switched to broadcasting and hosted a political television program focusing on the presidential elections in Peru. She reported that pressures on the independent press continued.
Blanca Rosales Valencia is the second IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner from Peru, following Cecilia Valenzuela (1993).