Pavla Holcová’s work as a human rights defender and later as a journalist led her to uncover high-level corruption and criminality across the globe. In 2013, Holcová founded the Czech Centre for Investigative Journalism, an independent news outlet that contributes to other journalism initiatives, including the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). Together with her colleagues, Holcová has contributed to many ground-breaking investigations, including the Azerbaijani Laundromat and the Paradise Papers. Her work uncovering these criminal networks made her and her colleagues targets for smear campaigns, harassment, and violence.
In 2018, Holcová’s colleague, Ján Kuciak, was murdered along with his fiancé while investigating a new story on corrupt dealings between the Slovak government and organized crime entities. Instead of silencing her, Jan’s death renewed Pavla’s resolve, and she carried on with his investigation, determined to publish the story and demand justice for Jan. The investigation contributed to the fall of the Slovak government and led to several criminal investigations and charges.
Ismael Bojórquez Perea
Ismael Bojórquez Perea is an investigative journalist based in Mexico. In 2003, Bojórquez co-founded Ríodoce, a weekly newspaper that reports on drug trafficking, crime, and corruption in Sinaloa. Due to the power of cartels in Sinaloa, Bojórquez and the Ríodoce team came under attack for their honest reporting, which shed light on the pervasive corruption and criminality in the region. The office has been targeted with intimidation, harassment, and violence, and Bojorquez himself was directly targeted by spyware.
In 2017, Ríodoce co-founder Javier Valdes Cárdenas was murdered outside the Ríodoce office. Bojórquez vowed to be more cautious while renewing his commitment to investigative journalism. Bojórquez has been an outspoken voice in defense of journalism and press freedom and has criticized the government for failing to protect and defend journalists.