Vladimir Herzog Journalism Award for Amnesty and Human Rights announces names of honorees in 2021

The organizers also informed that the finalists in each category will be revealed on October 14; keep track of this year’s award calendar

Considered one of Brazil’s leading journalistic distinctions, the Vladimir Herzog Journalism Award for Amnesty and Human Rights has recognized, since its very first edition in 1979, reporting work that enhances Democracy and Human Rights.

In 2021, there are 700 entries competing in seven categories: Art (illustrations, caricatures and cartoons), Photography, Written Journalism, Video Journalism, Audio Journalism, Multimedia Journalism and Non-Fiction Book.

The entries are currently being assessed by the Selection Jury. The names of the finalists are scheduled to be announced on October 14 and the choice of winners will be made by representatives of the organizations that serve on the Organizing Committee on October 16, in a public session.

Vladimir Herzog Special Award 2021

Since 2009, the sponsor institutions have resumed the Award’s original proposal of honoring, each year, public figures and professionals with an outstanding record in the relevant causes of Democracy, Social Justice and Human Rights.

Over the past four decades, honors have already been paid to Lourenço Diaféria (in memoriam)David de Moraes, Audálio Dantas, Elifas Andreato, Alberto Dines, Lúcio Flavio Pinto, Perseu Abramo (creator of the Award, in memoriam), Marco Antônio Tavares Coelho, Raimundo Pereira, Sandra Passarinho, Rubens Paiva (in memoriam), Mino Carta, Mauro Santayana, Daniel Herz (in memoriam), Eduardo Galeano (in memoriam), Elio Gaspari, Cláudio Abramo (in memoriam), Tim Lopes (in memoriam), D. Paulo Evaristo Arns (in memoriam), Rose Nogueira, Bernardo Kucinski, Patrícia Campos Mello, Glenn Greenwald, Hermínio Sacchetta (in memoriam)Luiz Gama (in memoriam)Sueli Carneiro and Laerte.

This year, Neusa Maria Pereira and Alex Silveira will receive the trophy that is a symbol of the Award – a half moon with Vlado in silhouette created by the artist Elifas Andreato. Abdias Nascimento and José Marques de Melo will be honored in memoriam.

Neusa Maria Pereira

Born in São Paulo and graduated in Journalism from Cásper Líbero University, Neusa Maria Pereira has worked as a reporter and copy editor for some of the country’s leading newspapers. She was also on the staff of “Versus”, an important alternative newspaper that circulated from 1975 to 1979, during the civil-military dictatorship.

Neusa Maria was the first black woman to publish an article on black feminism in the Brazilian press and was one of the organizers of the historic public event held on the steps of the Municipal Theater of São Paulo in 1978, which marked the foundation of the Unified Black Movement (MNU). Today, she is director of Abayomi Comunicação, which since 2012 has published the “Escrita Feminina” newspaper distributed to women in the urban outskirts of São Paulo.

To honor Neusa Maria Pereira is to shed light on the invisible history of people who have fought to help open the doors of Brazilian journalism to black women. May this recognition also help inspire an increasing number of young black women to break down the many barriers that Brazilian society still imposes on them.

Alex Silveira

On May 18, 2000, while covering a protest staged by teachers on Avenida Paulista in São Paulo for the newspaper Agora SP, the photo journalist Alex Silveira was hit in the left eye by a rubber bullet, causing him to lose 90% of his vision. Since then, he has been trying to hold the State to account for what happened. Despite being awarded compensation by a trial court, the São Paulo State Court of Appeals overturned the ruling in 2014, claiming that the photographer was exclusively to blame for having remained at the scene of the commotion.

In June 2021, by 10 votes to 1, the Supreme Court held the State responsible for the serious injury suffered by Alex – a decision that could restore justice and help recover the social importance of journalism, since it sets a precedent for other cases of State violence against press professionals.

The nomination of Alex Silveira to receive the Vladimir Herzog Special Award is recognition for his struggle for the right to practice journalism and to strengthen press freedom. It is also a celebration of a ruling that holds the State responsible for the injuries caused by its agent against a journalist who was on the ground carrying out an activity of public and social interest.

Abdias Nascimento

An icon of the fight against racism and for human rights in Brazil, Abdias Nascimento dedicated a lifetime to drawing attention to racial inequality as one of the unhealed wounds of our country. He was a journalist, artist, writer, poet, playwright, university professor and a senator. He was a prominent social scientist and author of important works dealing with Afro-Brazilian themes, and is considered a mandatory reference in this field of study.

In 1980, he helped create the Zumbi Memorial; in 1982, he was elected Federal Congressman as a member of the PDT (Democratic Labor Party) from Rio de Janeiro; in the following decade, he served as a Federal Senator. He was also head of the Human Rights and Citizenship Secretariat of the Rio de Janeiro state government. He was the first federal congressman in the country to develop bills for affirmative action policies. As an alternate for the anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro in the Senate, he served between 1991 and 1992 and between 1997 and 1999. In 2021, it will be 10 years since his death.

To honor Abdias Nascimento is to remember that journalism needs to be more plural and egalitarian. Furthermore, it is also a way of restoring to today’s journalism, so preoccupied with consumer services, something of the public civic voice it used to have in the past, like the abolitionist and republican press in which Abdias was prominent.

José Marques de Melo

Since “Uso dos meios de comunicação” (Use of the means of communication) and “A reforma do ensino de Jornalismo” (The reform of journalism teaching) at the end of the 1960s, José Marques de Melo has published 173 books, contributed chapters in more than 150 others and written hundreds of articles in scientific journals. All of which are fundamental for a concept that he himself coined: “Brazilian communicational thought”. Among his books, the most cited work is “A opinião no Jornalismo Brasileiro” (Opinion in Brazilian Journalism), from 1985, written based on an in-depth look into studies on journalistic genres. He is the most prolific author in the fields of Communication and Journalism in Portuguese language and in Latin America.

Born in the state of Alagoas in 1943, he graduated in Journalism and Law, in Recife. He worked as a professor at Cásper Líbero University and at the Methodist University of São Paulo, and he was the founder of the Department of Journalism at the University of São Paulo, from where he was dismissed by the dictatorship and was only able to return after the Amnesty, in 1979. During these years, he earned a doctorate in Journalism and was one of the founders of the Brazilian Association of Interdisciplinary Studies on Communication (Intercom).

The volume and quality of his work, but also his achievements, illustrate the importance of this tribute to the journalist and professor José Marques de Melo. A teacher of several generations of journalists, professors and researchers in the field of Communication, he always sought to join forces and build paths collectively. We lost his physical presence in June 2018, but his teachings, creativity, provocations, worldview and defense of democracy and human rights shall remain forever in Brazilian journalism.

About the Award Ceremony

The ceremony of the 43rd Vladimir Herzog Journalism Award for Amnesty and Human Rights will take place virtually on Monday, October 25, from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm. The now traditional Round Table Conversation with the Winners will also be broadcast remotely on Sunday, October 24, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

The Vladimir Herzog Journalism is staged and organized by a commission formed by the following institutions: the Brazilian Press Association – ABI; the National Federation of Journalists – FENAJ; the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of São Paulo; the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism – ABRAJI; the Brazilian Association of Interdisciplinary Studies on Communication – Intercom; the School of Communication and Art of the University of São Paulo – ECA/USP; the São Paulo State Police Ombudsman’s Office; the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of São Paulo; Conectas Human Rights; the Federal Council of the Brazilian Bar Association; the São Paulo Chapter of the Brazilian Bar Association; the Periferia em Movimento communication group; and the Vladimir Herzog Institute.

Keep track the award calendar: 

Announcement of the finalists: October 14, Thursday, on premiovladimirherzog.org

Award jury and announcement of the winners: October 16, Saturday, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, in a public judging session broadcast live on the internet.

Round Table Conversation with the Winners: October 24, Sunday, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, in a virtual environment.

Award ceremony: October 25, Monday, from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm, in a virtual environment.

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