Natália Leal Accepts ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award

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Receiving this award is one of the greatest moments in my career as a journalist. I want to thank the International Center for Journalists for considering my work to be fundamental in these unusual times. 

Being a fact-checker is not easy. Every day, someone questions our methods, our ethics and our impartiality. We see abuses against the press from governments and a far-right movement. They claim to defend freedom of speech and individual rights, but they are mostly advocating against our fundamental rights and threatening one of the most valuable assets in humankind: democracy.

In Brazil, journalists and fact-checkers suffer online harassment every day -- from the government, and from the president and his supporters. I want to tell my fellow Brazilian fact-checkers that this honor is a recognition of the hard work they've done.

I have never thought about winning an award like this. My journalism skills were always aimed at supporting teams and giving my colleagues all they needed to do their best work. I see this  award as a recognition for all the work journalists do behind the scenes. It is also a recognition of the work done by my great team at Lupa in Brazil. It is an honor to fight with you against the spread of misinformation.

There are too many people to thank by name, but I need to single out my Mum, my women friends and other female leaders who encouraged me to pursue my dreams. Every woman journalist in a newsroom knows how hard it is to fight against machismo and misogyny. I am who I am because they have been there before me.

People ask me why fact check when it can be so hard and unpleasant? My answer is simple: We need to fight against misinformation. This honor increases our commitment, my personal commitment. Fact-checkers will not give up, no matter what.
 

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