Within the framework of the Conference on Drug Policy (Confedrogas) an awards ceremony was held for the winners of the fifth edition of the Latin American Journalism Award ‘Drug Policy in Latin America,’ organized by Exchanges Civil Association of Argentina (IntercambiosAsociación Civil) with the support of the Open Society Foundation, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the United Nations Development Program, in order to encourage journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean to develop and offer a high-quality, ethical, human-rights based approach to this problem.
The award seeks to recognize journalists who have committed themselves to this issue, providing compelling and fact-based information. It also serves to enhance the value of journalism as a public service, especially with regard to themes in which accurate information, presented ethically, is imperative for curtailing the criminalization, prejudice and repressive policies that undermine democracy.
Second place went to Deborah Lopes of Brazil by Vice her article “Five days with her: treating drug addiction with ibogaine.” She was awarded the diploma from Diego GarcíaDevis of Colombia, Global Drug Policy Program Director for Open Society Foundation.
1st place went to Matías Maxx, also of Vice Brazil, for his piece “The Alemão Complex: Pacification Worked?” Maxx took home the US$1,000 check, provided by the United Nations Development Program, which also funded the cost of his trip to Dominican Republic. Luciana Mermet, Deputy Resident Representative for UNDP, presented Maxx with the award.
Adrian Pietryszyn, coordinator of the competition and ceremony, declared that “Matías Maxx’s work summarizes the spirit of this conference, as it shows that when you want to pacify through violence, as drug policies of the past 50 years have attempted, it only reproduces more violence.”