Paola Ugaz is a Peruvian journalist who has spent her career investigating injustice and human rights abuses globally. Currently a correspondent for Spanish newspaper ABC and a host of Lamula.pe’s “Diarios de Pandemia,” Ugaz has covered stories including scandals and abuse in the Catholic church, human and drug trafficking, corruption, human rights, racism, child poverty, education and culture. Ugaz began her career in 1999 as an investigative journalist for Caretas magazine, exposing election fraud and covering protests during former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori’s second re-election campaign. In 2001, Ugaz became a correspondent for Europa Press, where she learned to tell the world what was happening in her country. Ugaz later worked for Spanish news agency EFE, and was a founding member of IDL Reporteros, an investigative journalism website. She spent seven years as a correspondent in Peru for Brazilian outlet Terra Magazine. During her time as General Editor of Lamula.pe, Ugaz led a team of journalists to win the Peruvian Human Rights Coordinator’s National Journalism Award. Ugaz has published multiple books, including Punche Perú with photographer Marina García Burgos, and Half Monks, Half Soldiers with journalist Pedro Salinas. The latter exposed physical, psychological and sexual abuse of former members of Sodalitium, a far-right Catholic organization founded in Peru, earning Ugaz and Salinas the 2016 National Journalism Award and the 2016 Human Rights Award from Peru’s National Human Rights Coordinator. When Ugaz began working on a book investigating Sodalitium’s finances, she began receiving escalating lawsuits, media harassment and death threats on social media. In October 2018, Ugaz was sued for defamation by José Antonio Eguren, the Archbishop of Piura and a member of Sodalitium. While the claim was dropped, the attacks have continued – in 2019, Ugaz was named the journalist with the most lawsuits against them in Peru. With additional lawsuits filed in 2020, Ugaz receives near-constant harassment and abuse online. Inspired by her mentor Gustavo Gorriti’s mantra that “fear should never be your editor,” Ugaz persists to keep publishing in the pursuit of more, and better, journalism.
- Courage in Journalism Awards , 2021