On Wednesday June 3, it was announced that three reporters formerly employed by Mexican media giant MVS became the recipients of one this year’s awards for Initiative in Investigative Journalism in the Americas, for work carried out until March 2015.
“The result of the journalist’s initiative, herein revealed the striking case of a conflict of interest involving Mexico’s head of state, Enrique Peña Nieto,” the jury declared. “The story was widely diffused across the hemisphere, sparking an invaluable internal and regional debate on transparency in the handling of the ruling class’s private affairs and their impact on their public role.”
The winners are Rafael Cabrera, Irving Huerta and Sebastián Barragán, all headed by Daniel Lizárraga. All were formerly part of a crack team headed by seasoned Mexican journalist, Carmen Aristegui, who until mid-March conducted her own radio show on MVS.
Officially Aristegui and her team were let go due to a conflict between her and her employer which accused her team of endorsing the whistleblower website MéxicoLeaks, using the network’s logo without authorization.
This version is the source of some controversy as certain accounts have led to speculation on government authorities seeking the team’s termination in light of their investigation into a million dollar home apparently commissioned by first lady, Angélica Rivera, in 2014. The report, which was aired on MVS, stirred an intense nationwide debate regarding a perceived conflict of interest, as the contractor that built the house also held several high profile public infrastructure projects.
Currently, Aristegui is still proceeding with legal action against her former employer.
The award is jointly granted by Latin American journalistic non-profit Connectas and the Washington-based International Center for Journalists on an annual basis. The team won first place in the “Impact” category, which bases its criteria on “stories which have managed to become relevant in local or regional sphere due to its impact on public opinion or for having sparked some form of action on behalf of the state or the citizenry.”