Investigation of top Mexican resort town wins reporting prize

·2-min read
Millions of tourists visit the Mexican resort town of Cancun every year
Millions of tourists visit the Mexican resort town of Cancun every year

An investigation about the hidden side of the Caribbean resort town of Cancun on Wednesday won a prize honoring two journalists murdered in Mexico, one of the world's deadliest countries for the press.

Ricardo Hernandez won the Breach-Valdez award for human rights journalism for his report in the magazine Gatopardo about the underbelly of the Mexican beachside city, which is visited by millions of tourists every year.

"The only thing that's talked about and promoted about Cancun are its beaches, its tourism," while overlooking what happens in the shadows, Hernandez told AFP.

His investigation shone a light on the informal housing without basic services inhabited by those who "support the lowest base of the economic pyramid of the city."

The jury hailed the "impeccable narration" by Hernandez of "testimonies that show exclusion and what we don't see in Cancun," said Griselda Triana, widow of Javier Valdez, one of the journalists to whom the award is dedicated.

Second place went to Wendy Selene, Paula Monaco, Luis Brito and Maria Ruiz for their reporting on the trial of a former official accused of supplying more than 45,000 genetic profiles of missing persons and their families to a private company.

Manuel Ureste, from the news website Animal Politico, won the new category of child and adolescent rights for his report about migrant children crossing Mexico to reach the United States.

According to Ureste, although Mexico has had a law to uphold the rights of migrant children since 2021, in reality the system fails to protect thousands of minors.

Launched in 2018, the prize honors journalists who risk their lives to cover human rights abuses in Mexico, following in the footsteps of two acclaimed Mexican colleagues murdered in 2017: Valdez and Miroslava Breach.

Long-time AFP contributor Valdez, 50, was a prominent chronicler of Mexico's deadly drug wars known for writing articles critical of powerful gangs such as notorious kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa cartel.

Breach, a 54-year-old correspondent for Mexican daily La Jornada in the northern border state of Chihuahua, was known for her hard-hitting reports on links between politicians and organized crime.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist, with more than 150 killed there since 2000, according to Reporters Without Borders.