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 been standing 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 ceremony held December 10 – the International Human Rights Day – Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas presented the German-French Prize for Human Rights to the Venezuelan investigative journalist, Luz Mely Reyes, in Berlin. She was representing 15 prize winners in all.

After being put under pressure by the Venezuelan government for reporting on fuel shortages, Mely Reyes and two colleagues in 2015 founded "Efecto Cocuyo", an independent online media platform that reports on corruption in Venezuela and other issues.

More protection for investigative journalists

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

DW Akademie Verleihung des dt-franz. Menschenrechtspreises Luz Mely Reyes (DW Akademie/ J. Rietdorf)

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 congratulated Mely Reyes for her efforts. "For years, she has been committed to independent journalism and freedom of the press in Venezuela. As a result, she is under constant pressure," 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 is running the "Festival Cocuyo" being held December 12-13 in Caracas. The festival is running for the second time, encouraging 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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