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A Chamorro wins journalism prize -- again

Cfch2 Thirty-three years after his father was awarded the prestigious Maria Moors Cabot journalism prize, Carlos Fernando Chamorro has received the same honor. The veteran Nicaraguan journalist said he was "overwhelmed and humbled" and inspired to redouble efforts to honor his father's memory.

The parallels were lost on no one. Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, the father, was the editor of La Prensa in the 1970s who challenged dictator Anastasio Somoza. Pedro Joaquin won the Cabot Prize in 1977; months later, he was assassinated by Somoza loyalists, an event that helped galvanize opposition and trigger the revolution that brought the Sandinista Liberation Front to power two years later.

Today, Carlos Fernando, the son, is one of the most vocal critics of the Sandinista government under President Daniel Ortega, whom enemies see as a Somoza-like dictator.

The Cabot Prize is administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which said in its citation that Chamorro "serves as an outstanding example of courage in standing up to abuse by an authoritarian regime."

Chamorro, one of four 2010 Cabot Prize recipients, directs a nightly television program, Esta Noche, and a newsletter, Confidencial.

Reading a statement on the program (link in Spanish), Chamorro said the prize would serve to "call attention to the vigor of independent journalism in Nicaragua, which, despite all the intimidation campaigns, has maintained its credibility intact."

As The Times reported last year, Chamorro has been subjected to government raids on his offices and protracted but ultimately unsuccessful attempts by Ortega to prosecute him. Nicaragua is often listed by rights groups as a country where the government seriously harasses journalists.

--Tracy Wilkinson in Mexico City

Photo: Carlos Fernando Chamorro. Credit: Confidencial.


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Ken Ellingwood
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