Laureates 2006

2006 Present - Journalists of Print Media

Monica Gonzalez

gonzalezMonica Gonzalez, a Chilean journalist and author, has established a reputation as Chile's premier investigative reporter and one of the top investigative reporters in Latin America. She has consistently broken news on a range of human rights cases. She has also revealed a number of scandals involving former dictator Augusto Pinochet and his family.

As a result of such revelations, Gonzalez was repeatedly accused of slander during the Pinochet regime and was jailed three times. Through her aggressive reporting, she brought to light a cache of thousands of secret police documents on Chile's international operations. These documents have allowed Gonzalez and others to publish hundreds of investigative pieces about the operations of the secret police in Chile and elsewhere in Latin America. Beyond their journalist importance, these documents have served to prosecute cases both past and pending against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and other Chilean military officers. Gonzalez has been such a central figure that she was called as an expert witness by the Chilean court in several major cases, and also by the Argentine court.

Gonzalez's reporting achievements on human rights issues in Chile are all the more notable in light of what for years after Chile's return to democracy in 1988 was still a limited free press. Because the Pinochet regime had closed almost all newspapers and magazines that opposed his rule, there were few outlets, even after Pinochet left office, for crusading investigative journalists such as Gonzalez. Because of this, Gonzalez turned to the foreign press, including the Spanish newsmagazine Tiempo, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel and Argentina's leading newspaper, Clarin. Gonzalez still works as Clarin's correspondent in Chile.

Remarkably, Gonzalez's influence on the Chilean press is not limited to her work as an investigative journalist. In the last four years, Gonzalez has played an enormous role in expanding the diversity of opinion in a country that until now had been extremely limited ideologically.

Gonzalez has published four books. Her most recent one, La Conjura: Los Mil y un Dias del Golpe (The Conspiracy: The Thousand and One Days of the Coup, 2000), documents the events leading up to the coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende in 1973. Her other books include Bomba en una calle de Palermo (1986) about the Prats murder; Los Secretos del Comando Conjunto (1989) about the atrocities committed by the Chilean security forces during the early years of the dictatorship; and Chile entre el Si y el No (1988), a compilation of political interviews about the referendum that led to the return of democracy in Chile.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work and courage.

The 2006 Dan David Prize is awarded to Ms. Monica Gonzalez for her persistent struggle for human rights and democracy and for her consistent achievements in investigative reporting and book writing.