International Press Freedom Awards

Janet Hinostroza, Ecuador

2013 CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee

(Courtesy of Univision)

To read Hinostroza's acceptance speech, click here.

As a leading television reporter and host in her native Ecuador, Janet Hinostroza has investigated human and arms trafficking, the Ecuadoran police, and extrajudicial killings. She is also a prime target in the government's ongoing assault on free expression.

Following early work on Ecuadoran and Colombian television, Hinostroza has anchored the investigative news show "30 Plus" for the past decade and hosted the news program "La Mañana de 24 Horas," both on the private Ecuadoran television channel Teleamazonas. Hinostroza also hosts a radio program on 98.1 FM Mundo and is the local correspondent for Univision, while managing a production company specializing in journalistic programming and audiovisual products.

In 2012, Hinostroza was forced to take a leave of absence from her morning news program following anonymous phone calls threatening her safety. Hinostroza had recently investigated a scandal involving a loan by a state-owned bank to a businessman who defaulted. Her reporting uncovered irregularities in the loan and connected the businessman to the then-head of Ecuador's central bank, who was President Rafael Correa's cousin.

The Ecuadoran government's hostility towards Teleamazonas dates to 2009, when the network was ordered off the air after it covered the effects of natural gas exploration on the local fishing industry. The persecution escalated in 2011, when Hinostroza reported that a woman had been charged with disrespecting Correa and the government ordered Teleamazonas to pre-empt 10 minutes of her program with a rebuttal from an official spokesman. Her show has been consistently pre-empted to transmit official rebuttals, and this year Correa requested that prosecutors investigate the network for its alleged links to a 2010 police rebellion.

Hinostroza's plight is a microcosm for the hundreds of occasions when the administration has taken on individual media outlets engaged in critical reporting with obligatory presidential addresses known as cadenas. Although traditionally used to deliver information in times of crisis, cadenas have instead become a forum for political confrontation--a misuse of Ecuador's broadcast law.

Ecuadoran journalists must contend with official censorship and harassment, including the use of defamation laws to silence critics, smear campaigns to discredit them, and legislation to regulate news content and media ownership, a CPJ investigation has found.



2015
Cándido Figueredo Ruíz (Paraguay), Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (Syria), Zone 9 Bloggers (Ethiopia), Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque,“Zunar” (Malaysia)

2014
Aung Zaw (Burma), Siamak Ghaderi (Iran), Mikhail Zygar (Russia), Ferial Haffajee (South Africa)

2013
Janet Hinostroza (Ecuador), Bassem Youssef (Egypt), Nedim Şener (Turkey), Nguyen Van Hai (Vietnam)

2012
Mauri König (Brazil), Dhondup Wangchen (China), Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan), Mae Azango (Liberia)

2011
Mansoor al-Jamri (Bahrain), Natalya Radina (Belarus), Javier Valdez Cárdenas (Mexico), Umar Cheema (Pakistan)

2010
Mohammad Davari (Iran), Nadira Isayeva (Russia), Dawit Kebede (Ethiopia), Laureano Márquez (Venezuela)

2009
Mustafa Haji Abdinur (Somalia), Naziha Réjiba (Tunisia), Eynulla Fatullayev (Azerbijan), J.S. Tissainayagam (Sri Lanka)

2008
Bilal Hussein (Iraq), Danish Karokhel and Farida Nekzad (Afghanistan), Andrew Mwenda (Uganda), Hector Maseda Gutiérrez (Cuba)

2007
Dmitry Muratov (Russia), Mazhar Abbas (Pakistan), Adela Navarro Bello (Mexico), Gao Qinrong (China)

2006
Jesús Abad Colorado (Colombia), Jamal Amer (Yemen), Madi Ceesay (The Gambia), Atwar Bahjat (Iraq)

2005
Galima Bukharbaeva (Uzbekistan), Beatrice Mtetwa (Zimbabwe), Lúcio Flávio Pinto (Brazil), Shi Tao (China)

2004
Svetlana Kalinkina (Belarus), Aung Pwint and Thaung Tun (Burma), Alexis Sinduhije (Burundi), Paul Klebnikov (United States)

2003
Abdul Samay Hamed (Afghanistan), Aboubakr Jamai (Morocco), Musa Muradov (Russia), Manuel Vázquez Portal (Cuba)

2002
Ignacio Gómez (Colombia), Tipu Sultan (Bangladesh), Irina Petrushova (Kazakhstan), Fesshaye Yohannes (Eritrea)

2001
Jiang Weiping (China), Geoff Nyarota (Zimbabwe), Horacio Verbitsky (Argentina), Mazen Dana (West Bank)

2000
Zeljko Kopanja (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Modeste Mutinga (DRC), Steven Gan (Malaysia), Mashallah Shamsolvaezin (Iran)

1999
Jesús Joel Díaz Hernández (Cuba), Baton Haxhiu (Kosovo), Jugnu Mohsin and Najam Sethi (Pakistan), María Cristina Caballero (Columbia)

1998
Grémah Boucar (Niger), Gustavo Gorriti (Panama), Pavel Sheremet (Belarus), Ruth Simon (Eritrea)

1997
Viktor Ivancic (Croatia), Freedom Neruda (Ivory Coast), Christine Anyanwu (Nigeria). Ying Chan (United States) and Shieh Chung-Liang (Taiwan)

1996
Ocak Isik Yurtçu (Turkey), Daoud Kuttab (Palestinian Authority), J. Jesus Blancornelas (Mexico), Yusuf Jameel (India)