Human rights award for investigative journalist Luz Mely Reyes | DW AKADEMIE | DW | 12.12.2019
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Human rights award for investigative journalist Luz Mely Reyes

Luz Mely Reyes has for years stood up for freedom of the press in Venezuela. She has now been honored for her commitment, and in Berlin was presented with this year's German-French Prize for Human Rights.

At a Berlin ceremony held December 10, the International Human Rights Day, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas presented the German-French Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law to the Venezuelan investigative journalist, Luz Mely Reyes. She represented a total of 15 prize winners.

Being under pressure by the Venezuelan government after reporting on fuel shortages, Mela Reyes and two colleagues in 2015 founded "Efecto Cocuyo", an independent online media platform that reports on corruption in Venezuela as well as other issues.

More protection for investigative journalists

"I feel honored and see this award not just as a tribute to my own work but to the work of my colleagues in Venezuela, as well," said Mela Reyes at the award ceremony held at the German Foreign Office. She also called for greater protection for investigative journalists in Venezuela, Mexico, Nicaragua and other Latin American countries. Maas praised her for her work, saying, "You are courageous and you encourage others." 

DW Akademie Verleihung des dt-franz. Menschenrechtspreises Luz Mely Reyes

The award was presented during a high-level conference at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Luz Mely Reyes (far left) with Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (center) and delegates

"Efecto Cocuyo" is a local DW Akademie partner organization. Rodrigo Villarzú, Head of DW Akademie’s Latin America division also offered his congratulations. "For years, Mela Reyes has been committed to independent journalism and freedom of the press in Venezuela, and is under constant pressure as a result," he said.

Festival Cocuyo: Communication and innovation in Venezuela

As part of a project funded by the Federal Foreign Office, DW Akademie together with "Efecto Cocuyo" and other local partners are running the "Festival Cocuyo" December 12-13 in Caracas. The festival will run for the second time and encourages innovation and communication in Venezuela. Participants can exchange ideas with national and international experts in the areas of communication and innovation and create regional networks for independent journalism.

Since 2016, Germany and France have annually presented the Franco-German Award for Human Rights and Rule of Law to 15 human rights defenders. This joint award sends a clear signal to both countries’ commitment and cooperation in the field of human rights. This year's event was moderated by Michaela Küfner, Deutsche Welle.

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