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Snippets of a “disastrous semester” for press freedom in America

The police and judicial actions against press freedom and the physical and verbal attacks on journalists and the media paint a dark panorama in the American continent, denounced the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA).

The IAPA began on Wednesday to debate the reports on freedom of the press on the second day of its 77th General Assembly, a virtual meeting that has been held since Tuesday.

The president of the IAPA, Jorge Canahuati, said on Tuesday when opening the assembly that the last semester was “disastrous” for press freedom and the president of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornet, pointed to a “clear setback ”in respect for that right on the continent.

Those are some of the complaints contained in the preliminary reports.

Venezuela, “on the hunt” for journalists

The Venezuelan police forces “are on the hunt for journalists who cover the news,” whom they “physically attack and take away their cameras and cell phones.”

During the first presidential term of Nicolás Maduro (2013-2018) 115 media have disappeared, including El Nacional, which was expropriated and its facilities taken this year.

More repression of the independent press in Cuba

The Cuban report denounces a hardening by the Government of the repression, arrests, communication cuts and threats to independent media reporters after the protests of July 11 (11-J).

The arrests of journalists have included “interrogations, threats, incommunicado detention with relatives and lawyers, inadequate food and water supplies, among other human rights violations.”

Journalism in a climate of terror in Nicaragua

The Nicaraguan government “has consolidated its totalitarian policies and has managed to impose a climate of terror in the face of the general elections” on November 7.

Attacks on journalists and the media have continued and 26 have gone into exile since April 2018.

The most serious incident has been the assault on the facilities of the newspaper La Prensa.

López Obrador’s darts to the Mexican press

In addition to the incessant disqualifications of the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, towards the press, are added the “increasingly crude” threats from organized crime against journalists.

Six communicators were assassinated in Mexico in the last six months and López Obrador inaugurated the “Who’s Who in the News” section, in which the Government exposes the media that, according to its criteria, publish false information.

Legal actions against press freedom in Argentina

During the last few months “several legal actions affected press freedom” in Argentina.

The most notorious case is that of journalist Daniel Santoro, “the most emblematic example of judicial harassment in recent years” in the South American country.

New Peruvian government is worse with the press than Congress

The government of leftist President Pedro Castillo replaced the Congress, dominated by the right, as the biggest aggressor against the press in Peru, according to the report from that country.

The report denounces that there are limitations to access to public information, that the president and his ministers refuse to give interviews and that private media have not been allowed access to public events and ceremonies.

Bolsonaro’s aggressiveness in Brazil

The Brazilian report denounces the escalation of the “aggressive stance” of the Government of Jair Bolsonaro against the professionals of the press and its “anti-press narratives that social networks replicate.”

In the last year, journalistic activity in the country was marked by a climate of “intolerance and aggressiveness”, with numerous cases of aggression and intimidation of journalists and media and censorship companies.

The press amid the crossfire in Colombia

Colombian journalists and media were the target of numerous attacks and threats during the social protests against the Government that took place between April and June of this year.

“Sometimes reporters found themselves in the crossfire between protesters and law enforcement officers. However, most of the aggressions came from the state side, ”the report states.

The stigmatization of journalists in El Salvador

“As the Nayib Bukele regime consolidates, abuses, abuses, threats, restrictions and hostility against the media and journalists increase,” indicates the IAPA.

The association notes that “Bukele has fostered animosity against journalists and the media by publishing stigmatizing and unfounded messages.”

Insecurity and violence in Haiti

Since the assassination of the president of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, on July 7, “violence and insecurity in general” have intensified, and “the adverse climate” for freedom of the press and of expression in that country has increased.

The most serious case is the murder of 33-year-old journalist Diego Charles, who worked at Radio Vision 2000, also at the digital newspaper Gazette Haïti, and was a co-founder of the Larepiblik Magazine portal.

Laws against journalistic work in Bolivia

The IAPA warned about two bills in Bolivia, one of which concerns professional secrecy and the other, already approved, which may restrict access to information, by granting a government entity the power to decide what data may or may not be disclosed. ”.

Assange’s Possible Prosecution Blurs US Improvements

The possible prosecution in the United States of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified government information worries press freedom advocates, but at the same time there is satisfaction that the Joe Biden government significantly bolstered internal guidelines to “prevent prosecutors from seizing the source of information and journalists’ records.”


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