Anabel Hernández Receives DW Freedom of Speech Award In Bonn; Interview With Can Dündar

​​​​​​​Hernández: ‘We are still standing and we make our voices heard’ said Hernández recepient of Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award in Bonn. DW General Director Peter Limbourg presented Hernández with the prize at the Global Media Forum. She reminisced: “Why are they threatening us? Why are they imprisoning us? Why do they want to silence us?” Furthermore, Can Dündar meets Anabel. What does it mean to no longer be safe in your own country? The exiled Turkish journalist Can Dündar meets a woman who has locked horns with Mexico’s most powerful entities: the government, and the drug cartels.
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Hernández received the award for her outstanding commitment to freedom of expression and her fight against corruption, cover-ups and impunity in her home country. The laudatory speech was delivered by British journalist and author Misha Glenny.

“Journalists live in the most violent time in recent history, thus affecting society’s human right to be timely and truthfully informed. Each journalist killed means repercussions on hundreds of people who remain silent in the face of violence. But why are they killing us? Why are they threatening us? Why are they imprisoning us? Why do they want to silence us?” Hernández said at the award ceremony.

The prize, she said, was not for the more than 125 journalists who have been murdered in Mexico in the decade she has lived under threat. “And for all those who day by day continue to do their work with ethics and endurance. They want us dead, they want us silenced. But we are still standing and we make our voices heard.”

In many nations, she said, democracy is at great risk, as are the freedoms that to so many have made sacrifices to achieve. “It is not the citizens who make the decisions about their destiny on a daily basis but groups that concentrate more political, economic, technological and social power every day. …. They operate within the framework of the legal and the illegal. Organized crime is not only in Mexican drug cartels but also outside of Mexico in companies, banks and stock exchanges. “

Peter Limbourg said: “Anabel Hernández’s reporting on corruption and the drug cartels is an impressive example of courageous investigative journalism. We must protect and support our colleagues who keep searching for truths in spite of the dangers they face.”

‘A walking miracle’

Laudator Misha Glenny, author of the bestselling book McMafia and former correspondent for The Guardian and BBC, praised Anabel Hernández as “one of those courageous analysts who have identified how agents of the state have illegally benefited from the Mexican drug war just as the cartels have.” The laureate has “exposed these connections and the avarice driving these demonic networks” in countless articles and bestsellers, he said. 

But the most serious subject of her investigations, according to Glenny, is how “this bloodshed in Mexico, the misery that Anabel feels compelled to document and record, so much of it is the consequence of failed policies, mainly driven from Washington D.C., but faithfully executed by governments across Central and South America.”

In light of the dangers that journalists in Central and South America are exposed to, the laureate is “in a sense a walking miracle.” The fact that “she is still with us,” is miraculous, according to Glenny.

Apart from the meticulousness with which she conducts her research, Anabel Hernández cultivates a very elegant writing style, Glenny said in the plenary hall of the former German Bundestag. “She is fighting injustice with both truth and beauty.”

Anabel Hernández and Narcoland

Anabel Hernández, born in Mexico in 1971, is a renowned investigative journalist writing about government corruption, drug trafficking and sexual exploitation. She says that the fate of her father motivated her in her work; the engineer was kidnapped and murdered in Mexico City in 2000. The case remained unsolved after her family refused to pay off police officials.

Hernández gained international recognition through her 2010 bestseller Los Señores del Narco (English version: Narcoland) which drew connections between high-ranking Mexican government officials and the country’s drug cartels. After death threats, she had to leave Mexico in 2015. Since then she has lived in exile, now in Europe.

In 2018, the English version of her book about the unsolved murders of 43 students in the Mexican state of Guerrero in 2014 was published (A massacre in Mexico: The true story behind the missing forty-three students).

First woman among the laureates

Anabel Hernández is the first woman to receive the Freedom of Speech Award. Since 2015, Deutsche Welle has presented the prize annually to a person or initiative that has shown outstanding commitment to human rights and freedom of expression in the media.

So far, the award has gone to the blogger Raif Badawi (2015), who continues to be imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, Sedat Ergin (2016), the former editor-in-chief of the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, the U.S. White House Correspondents’ Association (2017) and the Iranian political scientist Sadegh Zibakalam (2018). The Freedom of Speech Award ceremony takes place at Deutsche Welle’s annual Global Media Forum at the World Conference Center Bonn (WCCB).

The twelfth edition of the two-day international media conference has seen around 2,000 guests from 140 countries discussing this year’s focus topic “Shifting powers” since Monday.

Guardians of Truth – Can Dündar meets Anabel Hernández

What does it mean to no longer be safe in your own country? The exiled Turkish journalist Can Dündar meets a woman who has locked horns with Mexico’s most powerful entities: the government, and the drug cartels.

Image: DW

In Erdoğan’s Turkey, Can Dündar is public enemy number one. After he uncovered illegal Turkish arms shipments to Syria in 2015, the President said he was a terrorist, and personally called for a life sentence in prison for the journalist. Can Dündar fled to Germany following an attempt on his life during his trial. Since then, he has continued to defend his homeland against the autocrat’s lies, promoting freedom of speech from exile.

Dündar meets the journalist Anabel Hernández, who’s been investigating drug-related crime and corruption in Mexico for more than 20 years, publishing numerous books and articles on the subject.

Image: DW

She is best-known for highlighting close links between the government and the drug clans — ground-breaking research that almost cost her her life. Luckily, she wasn’t at home on the day 11 armed men showed up to shoot her dead. She knew then that she would have to leave her home country.

Image: firsthandfilms

Not that she doesn’t return from time to time, under tight security, to continue her work and see her family. Can Dündar meets her in exile and then again, during one of these highly dangerous trips back home. He poses the pivotal question: what’s driving her to take this huge risk again and again?

Broadcasting Hours: 

DW English

TUE 03.05.2024 – 02:03 UTC
SAT 07.05.2024 – 11:03 UTC
SAT 07.05.2024 – 22:03 UTC
SUN 08.05.2024 – 05:03 UTC

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Original Freedom of Speech Award Post on DW
Original Can Dündar Meeting Post on DW

Anabel Hernandez is the expert who directs with her colleague the work directly as hat Adabel Jimenez-Corretjer, first direct cousin of the owner of this Magazine, Jorge Jimenez Neubauer Torres. She is a professor at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese languages in the Ivy League, University of Pennsylvania. Jorge’s and Adabel are the grandchildren of Adolfo Jimenez Neubauer Hernanez.

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