CARACAS – Miguel Gutierrez, a photojournalist working for EFE who was nominated on Thursday for the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Prize, talked about the difficulties covering the reality in Venezuela and emphasized how important it was to be journalists.
“The hardest thing was to take the photos of the wakes and the funerals of the people who died during the protests,” Gutierrez said in an interview with EFE, the agency he has worked for since five years in Caracas, capturing the day-to-day life of more than five months of demonstrations against the government this year.
Among all the images he took, some of which appeared on the front cover of newspapers across the world, the Colombian-Venezuelan photojournalist emotionally recalled the moment in which he captured the death of young protester David Vallenilla, who was shot dead on June 22.
“One of the photos I took is just when Vallenilla was murdered, and it was a very intense moment,” explained Gutierrez, one of the 18 photojournalists nominated for the RSF award.
The EFE photojournalist also added covering the situation in Venezuela, where he suffered threats, assaults, rubber bullet shots and tear gas bombs, hurts him “a lot.”
“With my nomination, I’m representing all the photographers, all those who worked on the coverage,” the 34-year-old photojournalist said.
Asked about the role of the media professional, Gutierrez stressed the need not to forget that the priority must always be to “report what is happening.”
“We have to be in the most difficult situations, which are often the most uncomfortable, because if not nobody would know what is happening in places like Venezuela,” he concluded.
RSF and the French-speaking international channel TV5-Monde will award the Freedom of the Press Prize in Strasbourg on Nov. 7, in a ceremony held as part of the 2017 World Forum for Democracy.
The RSF prize, which has been awarded since 1992, is divided into three categories: individual journalist, media and citizen journalism and is endowed with 2,500 euros for the winners.