2011 a "challenging and tragic" year for press freedom in Latin America

The Inter American Press Association's annual review of press freedom found 2011 to be one of the most "challenging and tragic years" for the region's journalists, the association (IAPA) said in a statement.

The main reason for such a finding was violence, as IAPA reported 24 journalists killed in the Americas during 2011, reported the news agency EFE. According to IAPA, seven journalists were killed in Mexico, five in Honduras, four in Brazil, three in Peru and one each in Colombia, the Dominican RepublicEl SalvadorGuatemala, and Paraguay. The Committee to Protect Journalists cited 21 journalists murdered for their work worldwide in 2011.

"Together with the impunity surrounding crimes committed in other years and the lack of action on the part of the authorities to deter those who resort to violence a vicious circle has been created that has given rise to high levels of self-censorship," IAPA said.

Governmental attacks on the press, such as through laws, regulations, and lawsuits, also are hindering press freedom throughout the hemisphere, the report said. For example, Argentina is pushing to declare newsprint a public good, and Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has gone after newspaper executives and reporters with disproportionately expensive libel suits.