COHA In The News: Colombian Magazine Semana Honored by U.S. Journalists Union

Published by the Latin American Herald Tribune
October 16, 2009

WASHINGTON – The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, or COHA, and the Newspaper Guild-CWA union have awarded the Colombian magazine Semana the Charles A. Perlik prize for its commitment to promoting justice and democracy in Colombia.

The jury stressed that since its founding in 1982 the magazine has been dedicated to “promoting justice, democracy, and public honesty” among Colombia’s civil society and in the rest of Latin America, COHA said in a communique.

The organization gave the prize to the magazine’s director, Alejandro Santos, son of the current president of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), Enrique Santos Calderon.

The organization stressed Santos’ strong management during a “particularly turbulent” period in Colombia’s history, during which more than 136 Colombian journalists have been slain.

The magazine, it said, has become an “impartial” and “highly respected” voice in Colombian society for its exclusive reports on the performance of the Colombian government.

Particular reference was made to its exposé of the illegal wiretapping of politicians, journalists, judges and defenders of human rights by the DAS state intelligence agency.

The Colombian magazine ran an exclusive last February on the wiretapping plot, which cost the deputy director of DAS counterintelligence, Jorge Alberto Lagos, his job, as it did to other officials in that department.

The prize that Semana received was awarded in honor of Charles A. Perlik, who served the U.S. press union as its president for the longest period of time.