Born in 1974, Jineth Bedoya Lima’s reporting has focused on the armed conflict and peace process in Colombia and on sexual violence against women.
Bedoya Lima was herself a victim of sexual violence in 2000 when she was abducted and raped in connection with an investigation into arms trafficking she was conducting for the daily newspaper El Espectador.
Three years later, while working for the daily El Tiempo, she was kidnapped by militants of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
“The courage and commitment of Jineth Bedoya Lima, doubly exposed to unacceptable risks as a woman and as a journalist, inspire profound respect,” Zoulay said.
“We need the work of professional and independent journalists.
“The present pandemic highlights the vital role journalists play in providing all of us with access to reliable, in some cases vital, the information in crisis situations,” Azoulay added.
“It also shows the many risks journalists face everywhere in the world in the exercise of their profession.
“In attributing the Press Freedom Prize to Jineth Bedoya Lima, the Jury recognizes and supports her outstanding courage and untiring commitment to uncovering issues of fundamental importance to society,” President of the Jury Giselle Khoury said.
The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize is awarded annually on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, celebrated on 3 May.
This year’s Prize-giving ceremony and the main conference on freedom of the press which was scheduled to take place in The Hague in cooperation with the Government of the Netherlands was postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The $25,000 prize recognises a person, organisation or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence or promotion of press freedom, especially in the face of danger.
It is funded by the Guillermo Cano Isaza Foundation (Colombia), the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland) and the Namibia Media Trust and is awarded annually.