Press and Society Institute

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Press and Society Institute (also known as the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad IPYS) "in Lima, Peru, monitors attacks on press freedom in the Andean region and provides advocacy and legal support on journalists' behalf. When IPYS provided journalists around the country with a 1-800 number to call in case of an emergency, there was a huge increase in the number of attack cases reported in Peru. IPYS has full time local journalists investigating cases of attacks against journalists, especially in remote regions where they are more common. Knight fellow Mandalit del Barco found that Canal N, Peru's new cable TV station has become crucial to Peruvian journalism. It broke the story of corruption of Peru's spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, which led to fall of Fujimora regime. "Media owners and their political allegiances also changed, becoming more critical of the government, del Barco found." Soros' OSI may be opening a human rights organization in Lima, which presumably would also assist with media work." [1]

They received their first grant from the NED in 1998 to "develop a national network to protect journalist. It will organize a system of communications throughout Peru that will allow news of an attack against a journalist to be relayed quickly to national media and international groups. IPYS will establish five provincial offices and one central office in Lima to coordinate the network. In addition, IPYS will maintain a fund to provide legal support to journalists who may be the target of state prosecution."

In 2000 they were awarded the Free Media Pioneer Award.

"Mark Hallett of MTF (McCormick Tribune Foundation) viewed them as "a model of the local press-freedom monitoring group." MTF provides $100,000 for 2000-2002. IPYS was an important press-freedom advocate throughout the Fujimori 90s. IPYS has expanded to Colombia. Contact: Ricardo Uceda, former head of the investigative unit at El Comerica." [2]

According to Ricardo Uceda, director of IYPS:

"Instituto Prensa y Sociedad evolved in an atypical fashion, after independent journalists started the organization in Peru in 1993 as a way to defend us from Alberto Fujimori and Vladimir Montesinos. We wanted to find a way to promote independent journalism and support those journalists who received little publicity.
"Most journalists supported the coup when it occurred in 1992 and didn’t support Peru’s democratic institutions. From 1993 to 2000, I worked with four assistants and one fundraiser. We decided not to try to compete with journalistic organizations, but to collaborate with any willing and experienced journalists and lawyers interested in helping us.
"After the fall of Fujimori and Montesinos in 2000, the obstacles facing journalists changed from attacks on the press to corruption. By 2001 commercial interests had become more powerful than the news, as seen in the lack of attention paid to regional and provincial news.
"But most journalists and journalism organizations gave other issues higher priority. Debate was focused on freedom of the press, rather than the role of the press. Advocates emphasized legal issues, insult laws, and access to information while treating self-censorship and conflicts of interest lightly.
"In 2001 we redefined the mission of IPYS, and decided to get involved in investigative journalism. There was a lack of study on the impact and practice of investigative journalism in Latin America. Most texts on the subject had an academic focus, rather than case study research on investigative reporters and their stories. Through this specific study we hoped to open up debate on the role of the media.
"This project has several elements. We have our own correspondents in seven Latin American countries, including Chile, Argentina, and Venezuela, who write weekly articles for our bulletin. We’ve launched an annual prize competition, sponsored by Transparency International, that honors the best investigative journalism.
"Our main work and idea behind this project is to study how investigations are being done, and what we can learn from them. We want to set up a research database with case studies of investigative journalism. With this we can establish the methods and results of each investigation – sources, techniques, costs, resources available and required, what problem the investigation tried to solve, and what impact the investigation had.
"In Peru, we’ve already studied 10 investigations and come to several conclusions. There is a need for editorial leadership in investigative projects, and for additional training of journalists. Teamwork, field research, document research, and the occasional “Deep Throat” type of source are also important criteria for these investigations.
"With this and additional research, we’ve realized that it’s possible to study investigative journalism. Our analysts have found some indicators to study and help understand the methodology of investigative journalism.
"We plan to continue this study as a unique contribution to the development of the free press in Latin America. IPYS doesn’t want to train journalists. We want to promote issues for debate among Latin America’s investigative journalists, on the issues that we find important." [3]

In 2002, Transparency International "joined forces with the Press and Society Institute (IPYS) and launched in 2002 the Journalism Award of the best investigate corruption report." [4]

Annual Award for the Best Investigative Report

"Transparency International Latin America and the Caribbean and the Press and Society Institute, with financial support from the Open Society Institute, announce the fifth edition of the Annual Award for the Best Investigative Report on Corruption in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a USD25 thousand dollar first prize for the winner and two USD5 thousand special prizes for important efforts. The organizations wish to promote high quality journalism, a critical watchdog of all public affairs, and the uncovering of corruption cases throughout the region." [3]

Judging Jury [4]

Former Winners



Calle Sucre 317
Barranco - Lima, Peru
Phone: (511) 247 3308
Fax: (511) 247 3194


Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. 2007 Democracy Award to Spotlight Press Freedom, NED, accessed September 15, 2007.
  2. 2007 Democracy Award to Spotlight Press Freedom, NED, accessed September 14, 2007.
  3. AWARD CRITERIA, IPYS, accessed September 15, 2007.
  4. Jury, IPYS, accessed September 15, 2007.
  5. PAST WINNERS: First Edition 2002-2003, IPYS, accessed September 15, 2007.