IAPA concludes General Assembly, criticizes "autocratic" governments’ media concentration efforts

The concentration of the media by “autocratic” governments is one of the “the greatest obstacles for the freedom of the press in the western hemisphere during the last six months of the year” and the killing of 14 journalists represents one of the highest numbers in the last 20 years, the Inter American Press Association noted during the conclusion of its 69th General Assembly in Denver last weekend.

According to IAPA, economic coercion has turned into a threat for press freedom. One method has been the mass acquisition of media outlets by the governments directly or through people close to them. Because of this trend, some media organizations is Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Argentina have become  “tools of partisan and ideological propaganda,” the organization said.

Another threat for press freedom was the killing of 14 journalists in Latin America in the last six months. In Mexico there were three killings; in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Haiti there were two respectively. Ecuador, Honduras, and Paraguay were also in the list with one each.

In addition to those cases, IAPA highlighted the crimes that will remain in impunity due to statutes of limitations; that is, the expiration of the legal time limit to investigate them. Colombia had five cases and Mexico twelve.

IAPA also mentioned in their conclusions other obstacles to press freedom in the last six months like the U.S. spying scandal, barriers to public information access, the increase in trials and lawsuits against the media, and the efforts from the countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) to weaken the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ (IACHR), Special Rapporteur for the Freedom of the Press.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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