World Press Freedom Day is recognized internationally to celebrate the freedom of press and to honor those journalists who have lost their lives performing their duties. May 3 is chosen as the annual date, as it was on that day in 1991 that the Declaration of Windhoek was signed, declaring the freedom of press a basic human right. This year the day was celebrated with a photography auction in Veracruz, Mexico, to support the family of journalist Gregorio Jimenez de la Cruz. "Goyo," as he was affectionately called by his friends and family, was found murdered in the city of Las Choapas. He has since become a symbol for the increasing violence that Mexican journalists are facing on a daily basis.
A photo auction
In order to support Goyo's family, photojournalists from around the world donated a total of 106 pictures to be auctioned at the Gimnasio de Arte Cultural Center in Mexico City. The crowd that gathered at the auction was in high spirits as they cheered each other on to raise money for widow Carmela Hernandez and her family. In total, the auction raised more than $10,000 (131,000 pesos). Goyo sold his articles to local newspapers such as Notisur and Liberal del Sur for a mere 20 pesos a piece.
Prominent photojournalists from across Mexico and the world donated their work to the auction. Pictures from Elsa Medina, Jose Luis Cuevas, Marco Cruz, Pedro Valtierra and Ricardo Garibay were all included. There were even some images from award-winning photographers Pedro Pardo, Fernando Brito and Guillermo Arias.
A national movement
The Foto x Goyo auction has become a national movement as citizens begin to take notice of the violence against journalists that is becoming commonplace in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Ten journalists have been killed there in the last four years, which is a disturbing statistic for many human rights groups. As such, a large group of NGOs, including Article 19, Reporters Without Borders, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and Casa de los Periodistas, banded together to put on the auction.
Auctions are often held for charitable purposes such as this. They are a great way to get a community together and raise money for a common cause. Keep a lookout for ongoing charity auctions in your area to support the local causes that you feel strongly about.