From the website of the Pulitzer Center… “American missionary priest Joe Fitzgerald has worked in the Comarca for more than seven years.” Image and story by Nick Swyter. Panama, 2013.
In February 2012, the Panamanian police used a military-style crackdown on a road blockade organized by Ngäbe-Buglé activists who opposed mining and hydroelectric projects. According to American missionary priest Joe Fitzgerald, police used tear gas, pellets and live rounds on the indigenous protesters. Fitzgerald, as both an outsider and a member of the clergy, has been able to assume a number of roles that the Ngäbe have not — namely, informing Panama’s media of the attacks and assessing the police treatment of prisoners.
“There may have been three or four hundred people on that Sunday morning, but once the word came about on how brutal the attack was on the police side, I would say there were about 3,000 people at our protest site,” said Fitzgerald.
About the Pulitzer Center
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is an innovative award-winning non-profit journalism organization dedicated to supporting the independent international journalism that U.S. media organizations are increasingly less able to undertake. The Center focuses on under-reported topics, promoting high-quality international reporting and creating platforms that reach broad and diverse audiences.
The Center’s educational programs provide students with fresh information on global issues, help them think critically about the creation and dissemination of news, and inspire them to become active consumers and producers of information.
The Pulitzer Center is a bold initiative, in keeping with its deep ties to the family whose name for more than a century has been a watchword for journalistic independence, integrity, and courage.
When Joseph Pulitzer III became editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a half century ago, he paid tribute to that legacy. “Not only will we report the day’s news,” he said, “but we will illuminate dark places and, with a deep sense of responsibility, interpret these troubled times.” The Pulitzer Center is driven by that same mission and deep sense of responsibility, in times just as troubled.
Jon Sawyer, the Pulitzer Center’s founding director, is a former Washington bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He has reported from five dozen countries around the world and is a three-time winner of the National Press Club prize for best foreign correspondence.
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