The 10th annual Austin Forum on Journalism in the Americas kicked off the night of Sunday, May 20, with an examination of some of the major security issues facing journalists throughout the Americas. During the Forum's opening session, Frank La Rue, the United Nations' special rapporteur for freedom of expression, along with newspaper editors from Mexico and Guatemala, highlighted the risks of independent reporting in a region increasingly racked by violence, corruption and rampant impunity.
Highlighting the need to celebrate journalists' work as way of creating a country- and world-wide atmosphere respecting freedom of expression, Guy Berger, director of UNESCO's Division of Freedom of Expression and media development, briefly outlined the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity during the first day of the 10th annual Austin Forum on Journalism in the Americas.
On Monday, May 14, the Newseum held a special re-dedication ceremony for its Journalists Memorial, adding the names of the 70 journalists who died on the job in 2011 and two who died in previous years, reported MediaBistro.
The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) has named El Salvador's online newspaper El Faro as one of the recipients of the 2012 Human Rights Awards, recognizing the site's investigative journalism that "shines a spotlight on corruption and organized crime," WOLA announced on Wednesday, May 9.
Mexican journalist Humberto Padgett was among the winners of the prestigious 2012 Ortega y Gasset Journalism Prizes, organized by the Spanish newspaper El País, awarded Tuesday, May 8. Padgett, a reporter for the Emeequis magazine, won the prize for print journalism for his work "The Lost Boys" (Los Muchachos Perdidos), about organized crime in Mexico.
As the rest of the world celebrated World Press Freedom Day, Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, Canada, called for police to file charges against Toronto Sun reporter Daniel Dale, and demanded that Dale be removed from the city hall beat, saying he would not speak with any members of the media if Dale were around, reported CTV News and the National Post.
Winners have been announced for two of the most prestigious fellowships for journalists: the 75th class of Nieman Fellows at Harvard and the John S. Knight Journalism Fellows at Stanford University.
On Thursday, May 3, Reporters Without Borders marked World Press Freedom Day by condemning the "furious pace of physical attacks" on journalists, noting that in 2012, one journalist is killed every five days. The same day, news also came that two more Mexican journalists were found dead in the state of Veracruz. So far this year, Reporters Without Borders has recorded the killings of 21 journalists and six "netizens" and citizen journalists.
Less than 15 percent of the world's population lives in a country with a full free press -- the lowest level in more than a decade, according to Freedom House's new report, Freedom of the Press 2012, released Tuesday, May 1. The global press freedom rankings were released to coincide with the May 3 celebration of World Press Freedom Day.
Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil -- three of the 12 countries worldwide with five or more unsolved cases of journalists killed for their work -- again find themselves on the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) annual Impunity Index.